This is going to be a very painful NugeBlog for me to write, and like the well deserved constructive criticism and downright condemnation due our current corrupt president and much of our power abusing US government, it pains me deeply to have to say what I am about to say. But alas, the truth must be exposed so as to inspire and facilitate forward motion and upgrade in this hunting industry we all so dearly love and cherish.
By Ted Nugent
I sure wish more of our hunting industry and outdoor community knew a little something about PR. You know, public relations as in relating to the public. Now obviously many arms, companies and individuals of the hunting biz are worldclass masters at such economic life and death relations with the consumer public and have the bottomlines to prove it.
A huge American capitalism NugeSALUTE to them all!
Who hasn’t heard of Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Remington, Winchester, Browning, Smith & Wesson, Colt and so many other iconic sporting outfits that are household names right along with Ford, Chevy, Mopar, Kenmore, American Airlines etc.?
And I would venture to say, and believe the statistics from many polls support my belief, that here in 2014, hunting is generally viewed positively and supported by more Americans than at any time since the early 1900s. Though the dumbing down of America is clearly impacting a huge swath of the population, my fellow man is a bright, intelligent, often educated species with the heart and soul to seek out, discover and act upon truth, logic and commonsense.
Unfortunately, when it gets right down to the real nitty gritty, none of this support is a result of anything our industry/community has done. With what amounts to combined gazillions of dollars in budgets, I would bet that you couldn’t ask anybody walking the streets of America what the letters SCI stand for. A confused squint would also occur if you asked anyone what RMEF, NWTF or DU stood for.
You would be hard pressed to find a soul alive who ever heard of the Boone & Crocket Club or the Pope and Young Club or any of the incredible conservation work all those great organizations I’ve listed above have accomplished.
And that abysmal failure of PR 101 is a crying shame, for the sheer volume of habitat restoration and wildlife rehabilitation and relocation is truly some of the most phenomenal conservation work the world has ever known.
Which brings me to a very painful reality.
Recently the Pope and Young Club released a scathing, dare I say, hateful condemnation of family deer breeder operations and high fence hunting in North America. They did not just declare the ineligibility of game hunted on such properties from inclusion in their record books, or voice a respectful preference of choice, but virtually condemned as unethical those families who own, operate or hunt on such grounds.
Where do I begin? Here is an interview I conducted recently for Outdoor Channel in response to the P&Y declaration.
Question: Ted, can you speak of the relevance of Pope & Young’s recent condemnation of the captive cervid industry?
“Though I have many die hard dedicated bowhunting friends who have been active members in the Pope & Young Club since its inception whom I deeply respect, and I also admire the many P&Y members who live the bowhunting lifestyle with all their heart and soul, I’m afraid this is yet another example of some very unsophisticated elitist “leaders” in the organization making a foolish and backward thinking decision. Clearly the tail wags the dog here. The raising and breeding of cervids is the fastest growing segment of the agriculture industry in North America, driven by good families who are fascinated by and have deep reverence for the deer species that bring so many of us a higher quality of life.
“To find fault much less condemn this industry is truly bizarre. Sadly, P&Y is the same organization that doesn’t acknowledge or respect a legal trophy kill if the hunter uses a lighted nock. This is strange, strange thinking. I read the official P&Y statement on this issue and it can best be described as ignorant and absurd. I have hunted pretty much under every imaginable hunting experience, terrain and conditions the world has to offer, and their blanket statements about “ethics” and “fair chase” in high fence operations are utterly false and presumptuous at best. It greatly saddens me that the good members of P&Y are so poorly represented in this instance.
“Fortunately, very few people have ever heard of the Pope & Young Club and they have very little if any sway in real world wildlife management decisions or any influence whatsoever on the vast majority of hunting families in America.”
Question: With reports showing direct links of disease at deer breeders’ facilities, what steps should be taken to protect our deer herds?
“This too is an absurd notion, when in fact the confirmed incidents of disease on deer breeding operations isn’t but a minute fraction of the numbers found in the wild, particularly in the CWD original hot zone of NW CO & SE WY, the original outbreak a direct result of bureaucrat’s irresponsible experimentation with scrapies intentionally injected into mule deer that eventually escaped the ineptly “secured” test area. The fact is that all scientific studies show that the deer breeders are the victims of failed state game agencies mishandling of bovine TB, CWD, EHD and other real world cervid diseases, not the perpetrators. How this can be so dishonestly turned around is yet another manifestation of manipulated politics spitting in the face of science.
“How can anyone ignore the scourge of EHD that has severely impacted deer herds across the country while falsely pointing the finger at breeders? Somebody better get the truth police involved here.”
Question: Do you have any other thoughts on this issue that you would like brought to the forefront?
“I write a weekly blog at deeranddeerhunting.com based on a gungho hardcore dedicated 65 year deerhunting life. I communicate with the world’s most respected wildlife and deer authorities like Dr. James Kroll, Richard P. Smith, Charles Alshiemer, John Ozaga and other real world hands on deer masters. I am saddened to see such intentional class warfare further fragmenting our hunting brotherhood.
“That anyone would presume that high fence hunting equals put and take or unfair conditions is simply asburd. The easiest deer I’ve ever killed were free range in IL, MI, MT, CA, TX and elsewhere. With longrunning accurate records to prove it, the most difficult deer I have ever hunted were in high fence operations with real world escape habitat. Why someone would think otherwise and viciously condemn other’s choices is inexcusable and downright unAmerican. If P&Y or other organizations wish to exclude from their record books game hunted with lighted nocks, or with a watch taped to a bowlimb, or killed in a high fence operation, that is surely their prerogative. But to viciously condemn such choices as unethical is just plain wrong.
“The hundreds of thousands of American families that hunt high fence operations are good, decent, ethical, legal, fair chase hunters. Case closed.”
I am so let down by people who rely on guesswork, presumption and assumption when making decisions. We can look at the animal rights freaks and freedom hating guncontrol zombies as examples of dishonest, false agenda driven scam artists. But when an official arm of our hunting community like P&Y comes out with such an unfounded decree, I feel like William Wallace in Braveheart when he discovers his “friend” has turned on him.
I just don’t get it.
I would sincerely ask my fellow hunters to take a deep breath and not jump to conclusions regarding deer breeders and high fence hunting operations.
I’ll never forget a brilliant editorial by Bowhunter magazine editor Dwight Schuh years ago when he finally tried hunting deer over a feeder in Texas. He admitted how wrong he was in presuming it would be “unethical” and not “fair chase” to shoot “fish in a barrel” coming to a feeder.
Such presumptions were blown away by actual experience, and I am convinced the same thing would happen to most deniers once they actually tried the things they had drawn presumptuous conclusions about.
I hope that my fellow hunters who presume high fence hunting couldn’t possibly be real hunting, do indeed take a deep breath, hold that thought, and do some high fence hunting before stating an uneducated opinion.
I crave, cherish and enjoy all types of hunting. My extensive detailed journals prove beyond any doubt that the high fence hunting I’ve enjoyed for more than 45 years is not only as challenging and exciting as the open range hunting, but in most cases, less productive and more difficult with fewer shot opportunities.
Never has a fence played any role in providing a bow shot at game. Never.
I would join the great hunter, friend and fellow NRA Board of Director, chair of the NRA Hunting and Fishing Committee, Richard Childress, and respectfully request the leaders of the Pope & Young Club to rescind their unfounded decree condemning high fence operations as it is a lose-lose proposition for the great hunting families of North America.
If anybody at P&Y connected and communicated with as many non-hunters around the world as I do each year, they would know that the perceived controversy regarding high fence hunting is no more than a ploy by hunter hating animal rights scammers to stir things up within our own ranks, and they know that there are just enough unsophisticated hunters out there to fall for it.
What non-hunters are truly concerned about is that hunters respect our kills by eating them, and organizations like P&Y and B&C and SCI have failed completely in getting across any PR that though they do indeed keep records of “trophy” animals, that trophy hunters still eat the venison.
If you could communicate with millions and millions of people like I do in my travels and on facebook, you would see that the animal rights PR machinery has effectively delivered the big lie that trophy hunters only lop off the head to hang on the wall in a feeble effort to feed their ego.
Ninety-nine percent of the time that is simply false, but all those otherwise great hunting organizations haven’t impacted anyone with the truth. The truth being that records are being broken every year because our wildlife management model is working so well that the animals are getting bigger and healthier all the time.
Being human, I am guilty of occasionally presuming things too. Knowing the great Fred Bear intimately as I did, as well as his original partner, the great Dick Mauch, an original member of P&Y, I presume that Saxton Pope and Art Young would be terribly let down by the failure of the namesake club to better relate to the public.
For more Ted, visit his website at www.TedNugent.com