John Wayne: Inside His Love for All Things Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoors

by Matthew Wilson

When he wasn’t playing everyone’s favorite cowboy, John Wayne loved being outdoors. He especially has a passion for both hunting and fishing.

While on and off location filming, the actor would break away to go hunting. Reportedly, Wayne was good friends with Roy Weatherby, the founder of Weatherby Rifles. Together, the two would go on hunting trips together. Wayne certainly loved his guns and the fresh air. Deer, elk, and birds rank among the different animals that Wayne hunted during these trips. With the Duke hunting them, those animals never stood a chance.

There aren’t many photos of Wayne out on the hunt. But accounts in his various biographies said the actor had a knack for it. Much of Wayne’s on-screen persona may have been invented. But the real-life Duke Morrison certainly shared that passion for the world around him in his own life.

John Wayne Loved Fishing

But Wayne’s true passion was the waterway. He used to go out for extending periods on the Wild Goose, a fishing vessel that he kept in Newport Beach, California. Wayne’s young son remembered him as enjoying the ocean and sea. He said Wayne felt truly at home with the shore safely behind him.

“As he became more well known, the boat was really a place where he could get away. He loved being on the water,” Ethan Wayne told USA TODAY. “He loved to fish and hike and snorkel and go abalone diving. It’s what he did for recreation. He wasn’t a cowboy; we lived at the beach. He was an actor. He could just represent that archetype very well.”

Wayne and his family would sail between Mexico and the Northwest. They would often go hiking during this time as well. His son Ethan reaffirmed his father’s love for fishing and being outdoors.

“My father loved to fish and get oysters from the shallow bays. He would get excited about picking blackberries and said there was nothing better than bourbon, steak, and blackberry pie. He loved to hike and we went all over the place by foot,” Ethan Wayne said. “[Those times were] all about exploring, spending time with friends, and enjoying the natural bounty of the land. We would watch for bears at night by the dump. All kinds of fun stuff.”

Throughout his life, Wayne embraced the nature around him, a passion that continued into his later years. He embodied the spirit and attitude of an outdoorsman.