Bowhunters United caught up with Cole Chaney at the 2023 ATA Trade Show in Indianapolis last week. The country music artist headlined at the Show’s marquee event, The Connections Celebration, on Wednesday, Jan. 11. He sat down with us before his performance to reflect on his hunting and music careers.
For Chaney, music was his dream, and hunting was (and still is) his perfect pastime. He says the two activities complement each other and provide balance in his life.
“I think a lot of people take me for a really social person, and I’m really not unless I’m doing this,” he said. “I love playing music, talking to fans and being around all the people. When I’m (at events), I put the face on and play the part, but when I have my time to myself, I’m content alone. Hunting is a good way to isolate myself and be alone with my thoughts for a little while.”
Like most hunters, Chaney’s dad introduced him to hunting, taking him to the woods when he was just 3 years old. He wore earmuffs until he was 8 because he was afraid of the firearm’s boom. He said he missed many opportunities to shoot deer because he couldn’t hear them coming. He shot his first deer at 9 years old and realized the rifle’s report wasn’t that bad.
Chaney said writing songs is his therapy, but he likes killing a big buck more than music. “There’s nothing more rewarding than when you go out and put the work in for days, weeks and possibly months, and it pays off for you,” he said. “Hunting is one of the only times I can sit still for that long and zone everything out in the world to just be where I’m at in the moment.”
Whitetails are Chaney’s favorite, but he’s also hunted squirrels, rabbits, quail, grouse and turkeys. Regardless of what he’s hunting, he goes to the woods to get into the right headspace and find inspiration for writing songs. “I’ll go out in the woods and do any kind of outdoor activity in lieu of trying to write songs, but I’m going to have something come to me when I’m hunting. A lot of times, that’s when stuff happens for me.”
To further combine his passions, Chaney plans to mention hunting in a future song. “If fishing has made it in there, then hunting is surely soon to make it in there,” he said. “There’s a lot of pressure on writing a good song, so it’s nice to go hunt where there’s no pressure and I can just go and have a good time.”
Mossy Oak recognized Chaney’s passion for hunting and his musical talent, and the brand helped him kickstart his music career by inviting him to its Sticks and Strings livestream Facebook event in August 2020. In the “Cole Chaney: Another Day in the Life” video on the Mossy Oak YouTube channel, Chaney said, “things have been on an upward trend since.”
Chaney launched his first album, “Mercy,” in 2021, recently played at the ATA’s Connections events, and will play at the National Wild Turkey Federation Convention in Nashville in early February.
“I’ve already done what I set out to do, which was to (sing) as my job, so everything from here on out is living the dream,” Chaney said.
While Chaney looks forward to whatever the future of music holds for him, he has big aspirations in the hunting world, too. He wants to start bowhunting, kill a deer with a bow, go elk hunting with a gun and eventually kill an elk with a bow—but he said he’s taking “baby steps” first. He reminded Bowhunters United readers to “wear their Bottomland” and “pack at least 10 Little Debbie snacks” on their hunting adventures. “If you pack any less than that, you’re sure to run out,” he said.
Visit Chaney’s website to learn more about his background, songs, social platforms and more. Stay tuned to Bowhunters United to see how Chaney’s first year as a bowhunter pans out.