Hunting is Independence

An Op/Ed By Ted Nugent

Without the natural predator skills and awareness of the American pioneers, there simply would be no America. Hunting, fishing and trapping was the process by which these defiant, rugged individuals conquered the sheer unforgiving wildness of the Brave New World. Self-sufficiency is the essence of survival. Excellence in this endeavor assured life itself. Failure, not so much.

And believe me, without my father teaching me this essential self-sustaining touch as one with nature, I am absolutely certain there would be no Ted Nugent. What would the world have done for sexy guitar music? Oh the humanity!

From the very earliest years, I was taught the self-evident truth that nature provides food, clothing, shelter, medicine and, most importantly, spiritual sustenance.

That’s right; venison, fish and fowl provide the ultimate healthy rocket fuel for our sacred temples, but it is the demand of that higher level of awareness we must attain to understand our physical and spiritual relationship with the good Earth and her beasts that keep us humble and in tune with the life and death reality of behavioral consequences. Hunt smart or die. There is no second-place winner in the wild.

Though clearly the challenge of understanding and outsmarting these amazing escape-oriented prey animals qualifies as the ultimate sport, every hunter I know—and that’s no small number—does indeed cherish our hunting, fishing and trapping as the ultimate lifestyle. In a nation of heartbreaking obesity and the resultant insanely suicidal death march of directly related health issues, there is no question at all that wild game is the healthiest, most nutritious food available to mankind anywhere, anytime. Know it.

Hunting, whether with firearms or archery tackle, is all about intensely tuning in to our surroundings and our personal cause and effect. We’re talking ultimate accountability here. Wander aimlessly with no regard to our stealth and buy chicken, or go hungry. Aspire to maximum conscientiousness, paying acute attention to our actions, and be rewarded with a close encounter of the herbivore kind. And voila! Sacred flesh on the grill baby! Perfection has a name: venison!

Deadly, effective marksmanship will come only with intense dedication. We must be graceful with our weapons of choice, and this will come only with continual repetitious, thoughtful practice. Smooth and fluid like a stalking cat. Practice makes perfect.

The more time we spend beyond the pavement, moving ultra slowly if at all, absorbing the spirit of the wild and identifying the reaction of all wildlife to our presence, will teach us what the tiger already knows. See before being seen or game over.

The great Fred Bear, father of modern day bowhunting, always told me to be invisible, stay in the shadows and never step on anything you can step over. Camo clothing and attention to human scent-betraying wind currents are critical as well.

There is nothing as educational as time spent with an experienced hunter. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of the world’s greatest conservationists, the American hunter, there are more deer, turkey, bears, cougars, geese and other game in America today than ever in recorded history. It truly is the good old days of hunting right now.

There are some genuine Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone masters of the sport to be found in every state in the nation. Spend time with these experienced naturalists to glean important information about the habits and anatomy of game animals so we can execute a quick, humane kill when that magic moment arrives.

Once we attain a responsible level of stealthy efficiency with our bows and/or guns, then, based on the game laws of our hunting zone, we must determine the best places to find game and be sure we have met all legal requirements to access it. Only in America are we the people blessed with abundant private and public lands on which to hunt, fish and trap. With a little bit of homework, good hunting is just around the corner no matter where you may live in this great, game-rich country.

There are untold sporting publications loaded with killer information for the aspiring sporter. But the best place to start would be a membership in the mighty National Rifle Association. The monthly NRA publications will outline every step of the way from the dream of the hunt to the butchering and grilling of our prize. To be a full-on complete, independent hunter takes a lot of dedication, and the learning never ends.

Unlike the wolf or cougar, man is a reasoning predator, and because we have a soul and a conscience, we do not hunt for the thrill of the kill alone. We do not play with a wounded animal or kill more than we need. It is our spiritual desire and duty to kill as quickly, efficiently and humanely as possible, or the guilt is painful. As humans, we will make mistakes, but it is our responsibility to be the best that we can be, and when so doing, put our heart and soul into utilizing all of our skills to kill responsibly and not waste any of the precious gifts of flesh, hide, horns and other elements of the beast to the best of our ability.

Good hunting; visit tednugent.com for more information, and celebrate the spirit of the beasts. Kill ’em and grill ’em.

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With over 35 million albums sold and more media face-time than most active politicians, Ted Nugent has earned his status as an American icon.

A recipient of numerous commendations from state police, sheriffs’ departments, FBI and police agencies nationwide, Nugent has been lauded for his Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids and Freedom’s Angels, along with work as a national spokesman for D.A.R.E. Nugent is an award-winning writer for over 40 publications, and author of the New York Times best-sellers Ted White & Blue: The Nugent Manifesto and God, Guns and Rock n’ Roll, along with Kill It and Grill It, Blood Trails and Blood Trails II: The Truth About Bowhunting.



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