Older, Slower, Wiser, Happier Hunter

December 11, 2019 | « back

By: Ted Nugent

You think slowing down and getting into the primal predator mode of the hunt is difficult for you, imagine the overwhelming challenge I face when attempting to go from Mr. Bouncing-off-the-walls MotorCity Madman back to the dangerous, stealthy, cunning, slow-motion bowhunter backstrapmando!

I got your hyper dynamo juxtaposition right here, pilgrim!

Chuck Berry and Little Richard on one side, Fred Bear and Ishi on the other!


But alas, I improvise, adapt and overcome and figured it out for the most part way back in my most manic high energy teenage youth, for the bow and arrow was as driving an inspirational a force to me as my firebreathing Gibson guitars and primalscream rock-n-roll.

It was rather obvious in those early years of experimental bowhunting adventure that I was not naturally cutout for this slow and easy stealth and patience bowhunting stuff!

And of course, without genuine predator stealth and patience, I would be one frustrated bowhunter destined to buy chicken instead of dining on hard earned backstraps!

I stumbled and failed hunt after hunt, year after year, skunk after skunk, frustration after heart rendering frustration, but thank God I had the wherewithal to stick it out and not give up.

Over time, I learned slow is better, silence is essential, and a higher level of tuned-in ultra-predator awareness would be the do or die recipe for my Spirit of the Wild venison dreams.

Won’t you all join me in celebrating my 71st birthday today, December 13, 2019, and after more than 65 years of bowhunting, I must remind myself each day that bowhunting the mighty whitetail deer demands precision focus, what I call Samurai woodsmanship.

Those baptismal bowhunting years in the 1940s and 1950s well into the 1960s were 100% trial and error, heavy on the errors, and though there were naturals like Fred Bear, Ed Bilderback, Bob Munger, Roy Case, Doug Walker, Dick Mauch, Jim Daugherty, Ron Chamberlain, Glenn St. Charles, Ben Pearson, Howard Hill, John Swineheart, Bill Negley and a select handful of masters, most of us didn’t have a clue what it would take to kill a deer with a bow and arrow.

I sure loved those early years and am so extremely glad I was born in 1948 to be a part of the unexplored threshold of the return to this phenomenally challenging lifestyle sport.

I remember every nerve-wracking encounter where I never got off a shot. I recall every painful yet teaching miss. And I remember vividly every arrow that I pulled off and brought home the sacred straps.

I don’t know the current success rates of American bowhunters these days, but I have learned enough over the years that I have been able to bowkill numerous deer every year for more than fifty years.

The fact that I get to hunt more than 150 days each deerseason certainly has a lot to do with my goodluck, but I attribute my venison rewards more to my well-honed stealth rituals than anything else.

I don’t believe there is a more spooky, alert, evasive animal on planet earth more difficult to bowkill than a Michigan whitetail deer.

These maniacs live on pins and needles 24/7/365, constantly on the lookout for dangerous people with sharp sticks, especially uppity guitar players in trees!

Fred Bear said it best when he declared that if a hunter can kill a whitetail with the bow and arrow, he can successfully hunt any game in the world.

I believe he was correct.

When in my treestand, I discipline myself to either not move at all or make the most cautious, minimal movements possible at such an ultra-slow pace, ultimately in conjunction with the rhythm of the vegetation that I am in, that any unseen critter will likely not pick me out.

Certainly, year-round scouting is the key ingredient for creating good luck, but putting all that scouting data to work ultimately happens once we climb aboard our best guess right place right time ambush setup.

Older represents a long life of learning the lessons of the wild.

Slower represents the essentiality of backing down our modern-world hectic metabolism in order to return to the primal scream of reasoning, stealthy predatorship.

Wiser represents the upgrade to intelligent decision making based on the older and wiser accumulated knowledge.

Happier represents the fruits of our dedicated efforts to be one with the Great Spirit of the Wild and all God’s magnificent critters and wildgrounds as a natural hands-on participant in His miraculous creation.

Make no mistake, even with all the plethora of amazing technology of killer efficient equipment, amazing compound bows, trail cameras, satellite maps, moon phase predictions, scent management products and the like, our success rate will always pivot on the timeless adage right place right time, and that my friends is the roll of the dice to end all rolls of the dice.

Give it your best shot and may the Great Spirit be forever at your side to help guide you back to our spiritual origins as an asset with the pulse of nature.

May your backstrap dreams come true often. Happy birthday to me!