Just a few days ago on March 5, 2017, 10 million of my closest friends around the world celebrated a special birthday party for my old buddy Fred Bear. Thanks to the miracle of the modern internet, legions of folk in numerous countries paid homage via my Facebook to a great man that had an enormous impact on so many lives.
It was 115 years ago in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania that Fred was born, and by the time he moved to Detroit, Michigan to plunge into the phenomenal and exploding industrial revolution, the art of bowhunting was all but gone.
Inspired by Saxton Pope and Art Young’s study of Ishi, the last Yani Indian out of California, the effervescent mystical flight of the arrow took hold, and Fred discovered his true calling to discover and promote this missing link with our natural world.
Fred meant so much to me and had such a powerful inspirational impact on my young life that I refuse to let his name and birthday go unnoticed.
I first met him on our annual Nugent family bowhunting excursions to northern Michigan in the early 1950s, and by the time I was 10 years old, he became my bowhunting guru.
Fred was a very special guy. Always the gentleman, he carried himself in such a kind manner that no one could possibly not like the man. His fascination with bows and arrows and bowhunting was extremely contagious, not just to those of us who were already addicted but to millions of people that he instinctively knew would enjoy this historical hand-eye coordination challenge.
As he said and we all know, it will indeed cleanse the soul!
I hunted with Fred off and on over the high velocity rock-n-roll touring years, always making time to join him at his beloved Grouse Haven hunting lodge near Rose City Michigan.
Hanging around the campfire and shooting our bows each day was more powerful than my jam sessions with BB King, Bo Diddly and Chuck Berry. Can you truly grasp what I mean?
On our last hunt together in October of 1987, which would turn out to be his last hunt on earth, we had some intimate discussions about bowhunting and the ever changing world around us. When in Fred’s presence I made it a point to never miss a word or gesture, and there was something special in the air and the way he talked that fall.
That next spring in April of 1988 we lost our Spirit BloodBrother, and the pain and hurt was palpable in the bowhunting world.
My love for my friend manifested in song, and to this day the universal communication of music, especially such dynamic, emotional, sincere music, has introduced Fred to many millions of people that would have otherwise never known him.
Those of us blessed to know Fred smile lovingly at the thought of him, and to the rest of the world it should be known that he was very, very special.
He is with me and our older BloodBrothers constantly, and these lyrics sum up pretty well our love and admiration for Fred Bear and his glowing legend.
Happy Birthday and Godspeed my old friend. We will join you in the big hunt before too long.
By Ted Nugent, copyright Broadhead Music
There I was back in the wild again.
Felt right at home where I belong.
I had that feeling coming over me again.
Just like it happened so many times before.
The spirit of the woods is like an old good friend.
Makes me feel warm and good inside.
I knew his name and it was good to see him again.
Cuz in the wind he’s still alive.
Oh, Fred Bear, walk with me down these trails again.
Take me back, back where I belong.
Oh, Fred Bear, I’m glad to have you at my side, my friend.
And I will join you in the big hunt before too long.
It was kind of dark, another misty dusk.
It came from a tangle down below.
I tried to remember everything he taught me so well.
I had to decide which way to go.
Was I alone, or in a hunter’s dream?
The moment of truth is here and now.
I felt his touch, I felt his guiding hand.
The buck was mine forever more.
Because of Fred Bear, I’ll walk down these trails again.
Back, back where I belong.
Fred Bear, I’m glad to have you at my side, my friend.
I’ll join you in the big hunt before too long.
We’re not alone when we’re in the great outdoors.
We got his spirit, we got his soul.
He will guide our steps, he will guide our arrows home.
The restless spirit forever roams.
In the wind he’s still alive.
In the wind I hear Fred Bear.
“If today’s teenage thrill seekers really want to get a thrill, let them go to the Northwest and tangle with a grizzly bear, a polar bear, or a brown bear. They’ll get their thrill that will cleanse their soul.” –Fred Bear, 1965
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.
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