Country People Exclusive

Chase Morland Loved the Outdoors and 'Always Had a Smile on His Face,' Best Friend Says

12/29/2015 AT 05:00 PM EST



When Chase Morland's loved ones think about him, the first thing that comes to mind is how passionate he was about the outdoors.

Morland – whose body was recovered Monday afternoon from Kaw Lake in Oklahoma after being reported missing along with country singer Craig Strickland (a search is still currently underway for him) – "was always exploring and trying to find new and interesting and cool things to do," his best friend Clint Wagnon tells PEOPLE exclusively.

The pals first met around seven years ago and quickly bonded over their love for hunting and fishing.

"We'd always go fishing in the summertime and just spend the time [waiting] to get to hunting season," says Wagnon. "I filmed his first bow hunt. That day sticks out in my mind."

Chase Morland Loved the Outdoors and 'Always Had a Smile on His Face,' Best Friend Says| Tributes, Country

Chase Morland

Clint Wagnon



Strickland and Morland first met "a couple years ago" and immediately bonded over hunting. "Craig was always outdoorsy as well," says Wagnon. "He likes bow hunting, and they started hunting and just grew a friendship. When you go hunting with someone, there's a bond instantly."

Morland, 22, was working full-time over the holiday season at Gellco Outdoors in Arkansas and also loved photographing wildlife. "He liked to sneak up on ducks and take pictures," says Wagnon. "His favorite was a wood duck. He would always take pictures and say, 'Look how close I got!'"

Among friends, family and even strangers, "he was a social butterfly," says Wagnon. "Craig was always hanging out with different people and making new acquaintances. I never met someone who didn't like him."

Morland "always had a smile on his face and would help you out. He'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it," adds his friend.
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