By David Hurst, Altoona Mirror
Ted Nugent didn’t need his trusty guitar to rock a friendly crowd of about 1,400 Friday at the Blair County Convention Center, fans said.
And, in an hourlong rant aimed at riling up outdoorsmen to fight for their Second Amendment rights, he didn’t need a gun to target lawmakers who want to control hunting.
He also took aim at country music and even Punxsutawney Phil.
“I love Pennsylvania, your great work ethic, your good will and positive spirit,” Nugent said. “But the perfection that is hunting season is not perfect in Pennsylvania.”
He said Pennsylvanians are allowing lawmakers to say where and when they can hunt — and how, too, charging hunters to hunt deer in a state park near Gettysburg.
“State parks, national parks, federal reserves ... they belong to you,” Nugent said.
“Take them back.”
The state still bans semi-automatic weapons, worried hunters will shoot themselves with them, and continues trying to put restrictions on what and where to hunt without asking hunters — “and without leaving their desks,” Nugent said.
“Let’s start a new tradition,” he joked, suggesting fathers and sons hunt down Punxsutawney’s weather predicting groundhog annually. “‘Got ’em Dad. It’s winter.’”
The longtime rocker, known for his ’70s hits such as “Cat Scratch Fever” as well as his conservative commentary and hunting habit, spoke to a sold-out audience who bought tickets at $30 a piece.
“I loved his insight. He touched on a lot of the problems [hunters] face in Pennsylvania,” said Jarrid Barry, 22, of State College. “He really gets his message across.”
A member of the National Rifle Associations’ board of directors, Nugent urged the crowd to join pro-gun groups such as the NRA and speak in a unified voice to get their message heard.
“I’ll decide what I do on my Sundays and what kind of gun I hunt with,” he said.
“If you don’t want to hunt on Sundays, fine, but when I’m sitting in that tree, I’m 20 feet closer to God than you are in that pew.”
Nugent picked up his guitar once, sending guests home with an electric rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The event was sponsored by Outdoor Times and the Mirror.
Mirror Staff Writer David Hurst is at 946-7457; email@example.com