Some of us in this glorious world of deerhunting are just plain lucky, especially those of us so doggone fortunate to have been born into a hunting family from the very beginning of our American outdoors Dream.
It was December 13, 1948 when I arrived in Detroit, Michigan. My dad, Warren Henry Nugent was, thank the good Lord, already an ardent follower of Fred Bear and well on his way to celebrating the mystical flight of the arrow and the soul cleansing annual October escape into the Spirit of the Wild Michigan deerwoods.
By Ted Nugent
I look to the heavens and thank God on a daily basis that since the fall of 1949, just a few months before my 1st birthday, I have been beyond blessed to hit the woods, one way or another, during the miraculous fall deerseason every year of my life.
How sweet it is!
Sure, I didn’t exactly trek through the woods with my own bow and arrow and actually hunt those first few years, but I assure you that the spirit of the woods and the effervescence of deercamp powerfully imprinted on me into the deerhunting spirit as powerfully as my mother’s breastmilk imprinted on me into the Nugent family human race.
By 1951 as I approached my 3rd birthday, I was already addicted to the bow and arrow and allthings beyond the pavement. I’m telling you, I could not get enough of the wild from those very early years, and each and every year onward my cravings and love for the outdoors accelerated at a breakneck pace.
I was hooked!
Not only was I brand-new to bowhunting and wildlife in those roaring 1950s, but pretty much everybody back then was for the most part. Fred Bear’s incredibly attractive and effective promotion of this renewed fascination for hunting with the ultra-challenging short-range bow and arrow was in its infancy at that time, and every day afield was a fascinating new day of learning through trial and error.
I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was this “paying our dues” and stumbling during the very challenging learning curve of early bowhunting that was the ultimate allure. I am equally certain that if killing a deer with the bow and arrow would have been relatively easy, the attraction would have dissipated quickly and not many of us would have stuck it out.
So as I review and field questions and inquiries everyday from tens of millions of people on facebook and continue to join many hunting families afield each hunting season, I have come to realize what procedures are most beneficial to introducing new sporters to our wonderful lifestyle, and which systems are detrimental.
The worst thing we can do is to make it easy on the newcomers.
I watch some dads out there completely take over everything, thinking they are helping a youngster when they setup the bows, nock the arrows, help draw the bow, help aim the bow, setup the stand, setup the trailcam, setup the feeder, do all the scouting, carry all the gear, pretty much do everything, leaving the newcomer completely out of the picture.
I’ve also seen the horror of some dads dishonestly bragging about junior’s shooting ability, allowing a totally unprepared young hunter to hunt way too soon before their time. Some of these dads want their son or daughter to shoot a deer so bad that they mindlessly push them to shoot way before the poor kid is ready to make a proper and effective killing shot.
One dad I met was all excited that his son had “hit” but not recovered three deer one weekend, as if that is something to be proud of. Good grief!
My son Toby has become a worldclass bowhunter, to which I attribute his slow, learn as you go, challenging, hands-on baptism to the sport. He is now my best hunting buddy and absolutely lives to deerhunt.
I did not push him, and I made it a point to insist that he dedicate the time and energy to become proficient and self-sufficient before he ever tried to kill a deer.
Sure, guide the youngsters slow and easy into the sport and give them a helping hand, but guide them to do everything themselves so that they feel a sense of belonging, the joys of struggle and the gratification of individual accomplishment.
Take the kids or any newcomer on scouting excursions teaching them habitat details, critter identification, animal signs and spoor, and how the critters live. Point out the song birds, all critter activity and how it all works together to make the wild so interesting and exciting.
Show them the grace and stealth of our natural reasoning predator conscience. Teach them how to move stealthily, how to stay in the shadows, how to be one with the wild.
Emphasize the sounds, sights, smells and spirit of wild ground. Show them how to be invisible and when not to move.
Make sure they understand the details of our aim small, miss small responsibility to be one with our weapons and to kill quick and humane, to not shoot until the perfect shot can be made.
Emphasize the critical importance to practice and train hard before ever heading afield to take a critter’s life.
We want all the new sporters we can possibly recruit and to retain as many as we possibly can. But there is a right way to go about it, and timing is everything.
It is coming! The greatest joy we can experience in our hunting lifestyle is to increase the army of American conservationists. And we want them to be the best that they can be.
Take it slow and easy, for the most gratifying accomplishments in life come with hard work, dedication, sacrifice and patience.
Ted Nugent is an award-winning musician and writer, with numerous best-seller books including “Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto,” “God, Guns and Rock ‘n Roll,” and “Kill It and Grill It: A Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish” with his wife, Shemane, among other books. Be sure to check out his website for more news on his latest music, thoughts and upcoming shows, and also at World News Daily, Newsmax and Daily Caller for more insights.
From Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine, the 2016 Whitetails Wall Calendar features the work of deer researchers Wayne Laroche and Charlie Alsheimer, who reveal the 2016 whitetail rut prediction, based on years of lunar cycle research. Utilize this deer moon phase calendar to find out which days the deer will be seeking and chasing so you can time the rut for the best time to hunt.