The here and now is always of critical importance. Lessons learned and accumulated experiences in life are what fortify us to be capable of making better choices and judgment calls each and every day.
As a 70-year-old husband, father, grandfather and brother, my goal has always been to push my sensual radar to the maximum level of awareness so as to upgrade my quality of life constantly.
Such dedicated attentiveness to primary priorities is the exact same system of considerations that benefit every endeavor we pursue, and that includes our deerhunting decisions.
Walking on the wildside behind my dad, bow and arrow in hand in the big Michigan deerwoods as a little tyke taught me much, slowly but surely, about stealth and situational awareness.
I bet if some sort of research could be determined, we would find that the most successful deerhunters are probably the most organized individuals in the world, and probably more often than not, the most successful overall in life.
A hunter cannot casually stumble through the woods and expect to bag a deer. Comfortably numb does not a deerhunter make!
I will never forget and forever cherish my 1st ever antlered whitetail with my bow. I remember every detail in stunning, vivid technicolor and graphic detail and relive it joyously often.
I can actually taste it.
It was October 10, 1975, and I had my Ford Bronco all loaded up the previous evening with all my duck hunting gear, raring to hit a favorite swamp pond with my Labrador and Irish Setter. (Yes my amazing Irish Setter Paco was a killer duck dog!)
Slurping a mug of hot joe well before dawn I exited the house onto a dark, cold, dank, misty driveway and felt the rare east wind cut into my cheek. I stopped short of the dog kennel and backed up away from the Bronco, sensing a certain feeling about the conditions this morning.
I quickly abandoned my duck hunting plans and snuck back into the house without arousing the dogs and grabbed my Bear Kodiak recurve bow.
Slowly walking past the barn, I instinctively headed due east into the wind across the road toward a large stand of mature timber beyond a series of alfalfa fields bordered by standing corn.
Taking my time, I figured I would get to the woods right about shooting light and find a good ambush spot to intercept deer coming out of the corn.
In the misty, pre-dawn dark, I entered the last hay field before the woods and barely caught the dark shapes of deer about 90 yards ahead. I immediately hit the dirt face down into the cold, wet, foot-high alfalfa.
With visibility light slowly approaching at about the same rate as the deer were closing in, I could make out antlers on the last animal.
Squirming below the cover of alfalfa I eased an arrow onto the string sneaking a peak through the stems.
As the first four does got slightly past my position the buck was now almost broadside at 30-some yards as I slowly rose from my shallow cover, drawing my recurve simultaneously.
Almost to one knee I came to anchor and burned a hole into the buck’s shoulder and let fly!
I’ve loosed some mighty pretty arrows in my lifetime of bowhunting, but none more beautiful than this aluminum shaft as the Bear Razorhead sliced perfectly into the pumpstation crease dead-center behind the buck’s shoulder! As he pivoted hard away, I could see my turkey feather fletching right there where it oughtta be!
I melted back into the soggy alfalfa and watched in absolute awe as the buck covered 50 yards in a heartbeat and crashed just short of the woodline.
I was 26 years old and had no idea what I was feeling at that moment. I had never felt anything like it before in my life.
I approached the dead buck very slowly, literally feeling out of body as if I were hovering overhead watching myself walking through that wet hay field toward the fallen beast.
I plopped down beside him and grabbed his stunning 12-point little rack and gazed disbelievingly at my dream buck.
I then ran home faster than any deer has ever run and immediately called my dad, brothers, sister and a couple of my hunting buddies, excitedly sharing this magical deerhunting moment in time.
I retrieved the beautiful beast in my Bronco and took one photo before gutting and hanging him.
Talk about cloud nine!
Writing about that moment still brings a Cheshire grin to my face and a deep, primal tingling deep inside.
I swear to God that every time I’ve arrowed a deer since, I still get that phenomenal sensation as if it is the first time all over again.
Hold onto those memories and never take this grand old game for granted. Savor every element of every hunt and take it all deep into your natural predator psyche. Relive and taste every stimulating moment and never let these exciting experiences get away from you.
To be a hunter is a gift from God. Live it and celebrate it like you mean it. Visit www.HunterNation.org and be a force to reckon with for the future of this great sport/lifestyle and have the greatest hunting season of your lives.
With more than 40 million albums sold, rock legend Ted Nugent is equally well known as the nation’s most outspoken proponent of our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, conducting thousands of pro-gun, pro-freedom, pro-American interviews in major media worldwide. Nugent is a New York Times best-selling author whose works include Ted, White & Blue —The Nugent Manifesto; God, Guns & Rock ‘n’ Roll and Kill It & Grill It.This year, his award-winning Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild TV show celebrates its 500th episode! For all things Nuge, visit www.tednugent.com