Keeping the Child Within Alive

August 20, 2020 | « back

By: Ted Nugent

Growing up back in Detroit in the roaring 50s, every Thursday was trash day, and me and the boys were searching for the Holy Grail of recyclable garbage.

We would mount our Stump Jumper Huffy and Schwinn bikes early in the morning and race from one driveway to the next, probing everybody’s junkpile for something we could use.

Sometimes we would find heavy duty cardboard and wooden cigar boxes still in darn good shape, sometimes with tools, nuts, bolts, coins, bullets and assorted interesting paraphernalia and occasionally usable stuff.

The treasure of treasure was the highly desirable collection of marbles, which just so happened to be the ultimate accurate ammo for our homemade slingshots.

These crude slingshots were whittled ever so carefully with our Boy Scout pocket knives from sturdy forked hickory limbs of just the right size and shape.

From the discarded innertubes we salvaged, we cut strips of rubber to propel our projectiles, each band tied tightly to the limbs with lengths of old bootlaces we scrounged.

The ammo pouch was meticulously constructed from rectangular patches cut from jeans or tossed canvas tent materiel remnants, also secured with pieces of bootlace.

I am here to tell you, these slingshots were cherished weapons of mass construction, teaching us the importance of creativity, ingenuity, adventure, improvisational adaptability, and ultimately the aim small miss small discipline that would serve us well on all of life’s meaningful pursuits.

My trash day collections included a full set of wooden golf clubs that would probably be worth a fortune today if I only knew then what I had.

And rarely we would come upon an old longbow, wooden arrows and even a leather backquiver that were cherished beyond words.

Most of our early archery fascination and fun was also a result of homemade bows and arrows crafted from sapling staves and reed shafts fletched with discovered bird feathers along the Rouge River woodlands of our neighborhood.

Some of the kids were lucky beyond belief early on having a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun or Crossman pellet rifle.

My dad eventually got a Red Ryder to cull the pesky sparrows and starling that would crap all over our Ford Station Wagon and it was near impossible to get me out of my little blind in the garage where I waylaid the winged vermin with much aplomb.

But it was that first real bow and arrow set that set me on my life’s course to become one with the mystical flight of the arrow, and from about the age of two, I haven’t put my bow and arrows down since and continue to revel in that Samurai Zen spirit of projectile management.

So here I am excitedly gearing up for fall huntseason 2020 approaching my 72nd birthday, and that little whippersnapper from Detroit is still alive and well and kicking, about to go nuts with anticipation for stalking wildgrounds and arrowing critters of every imaginable shape, size and species.

Not having missed a single season since birth, I have certainly learned a thing or two along the way, but the passion and happiness I feel right now actually eclipses that of young Ted.

Though I meticulously strategize each deerhunt every morning and afternoon, there is no way I will pass up a shot at a turkey, squirrel, groundhog, coon, possum, skunk, fox, coyote, pheasant, quail, duck, goose, crane, dove, bluejay, crow, beaver, muskrat, mink or any other legal critter during the legal season thereof.

I do hunt for the perfect fun, sport, meat, trophy elements of every hunt, but my happiness factor pivots on good arrows going where I want them to, and with the amazing quietness of my Mathews bows, it is not unheard of where I arrow a smallgame critter and still kill a deer shortly thereafter.

To my way of thinking, accurate arrows are the ultimate indicator of how much fun I can have on every outing, and the memories of those always difficult and challenging bowhunts of yore come flooding back everytime I’m about to loose an arrow even today.

Young Ted sure had the time of his life learning all the incredible demands of hunting with the bow and arrow, and old Ted has never lost touch with that youthful spirit, thank God!

Go afield with a pureness of heart. Practice like hell for that happy, clean kill. Never lose sight of our amazing role in God miraculous creation and remember how free and unencumbered we felt as kids.

Fan those pure flames every day this season, and have a heaping serving of happy with each and every hunt. Backstrap like you mean it.

And don’t forget to be a positive force to reckon with as a registered voter for God, family, country, freedom and our precious hunting lifestyle. Get everyone you know to be sure to make the pledge at America and The Spirit of the Wild needs us now more than ever.