Oklahoma's Own Blake Shelton Puts State's Wildlife As Top Priority
One of the biggest stars to call Oklahoma home is using his star power to help wildlife conservation in our state.
The world knows Blake Shelton as one of country music's biggest stars, but his country roots go deeper than just songs on the radio - Blake is a die-hard outdoorsman.
"If the crappie are biting in the spring, leave me alone," Shelton said. "If it's deer season, I don't want to hear from ya. Don't text me. Don't call me. Don't tell me about this great opportunity. I want to be in a tree stand, ya know."
His love for hunting, fishing and Oklahoma wildlife started when he was just a kid.
"I've just always have been fascinated by animals and not just any animals, but native wildlife. It's fascinating to me," Shelton said. "I was so obsessed with it, like collared lizards. I called them mountain boomers growing up, and of course, horny toads. I don't see them as much anymore and it's concerning to me."
He did find a horny toad, also known as a Texas horned lizard, on his ranch near Tishomingo not too long ago and shared a picture on social media. Shelton also posts pics of his catches, his cornfields and even tree stand selfies.
And if the question comes up music or the outdoors? He has a clear favorite.
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"I love country music; I love my job at The Voice; I'm not as passionate about any of my jobs as I am about the outdoors. It's just how it is. It's just how God made me," Shelton said.
Shelton is so passionate about the outdoors, he used the grand opening of his new concert venue, The Doghouse in Tishomingo, to raise money for Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
"I knew that we were expanding Ole Red and I knew that the foundation was about to be announced," Shelton said. "This needs to stand for something more than just the grand opening of The Doghouse. Let's make this a great cause, too and everything just kind of came together."
His buddy, and fellow country music star, Luke Bryan, headlined the first of the two-night concert series.
Blake took to The Doghouse stage for night two to celebrate the outdoors.
"Even if you don't hunt or fish, the outdoors, I swear, in Oklahoma - it's heaven," Shelton said.
Fans lined the street in the small town coming from as far away as California and Connecticut.
"Blake's my favorite and to see him in his own, little small venue, you can't do it anywhere else, so it's worth it," said one fan from Connecticut.
Tickets for the shows sold out in minutes, with every penny going to the newly formed wildlife foundation.
"We're handing over a check tonight for $144,500! That's a pretty good start, right," said Shelton has he passed over a check to some of his fellow OWCF directors.
Shelton and News On 6's Tess Maune are founding board directors for the foundation. OWCF is a non-profit that raises private funds for Oklahoma Department of Wildlife conservation efforts.
"Whether it's a species of animal or a boat dock somewhere on some lake, there's opportunities all over this state that now we'll be able to seriously take a hard look at," Shelton said. "Whether it's research, whether it's actual hammers and nails and feet on the ground, volunteer work, whatever it is, we can start putting a plan together and being able to follow through with it. [There are a lot of] great ideas, now we can make those a reality through this foundation."
So even though Blake Shelton is a superstar now, his actions prove he always has and always will stay true to his roots as Oklahoma's Own.
"When I moved to Nashville in 1994, I remember telling my dad and mom, 'I'm gonna be back,' "and I've been here in southern Oklahoma since 2006," said Shelton. "It's where I'm gonna die."