By: Ted Nugent
I will be 71 years old this coming winter, and I thought I would share some old man, million adventure miles observations with my fellow deerhunting brethren.
So much has changed since I was born in 1948, yet so much has remained the same.
I just made a very emotional return trip to my old birth neighborhood in Detroit and stopped by the little house at 23251 Florence Street where I grew up.
Though I was immediately jettisoned back in time with a flood of wonderful, stirring, happy memories, in reality the old neighborhood was in no way the same.
What were once proudly maintained and manicured lawns and yards were now overgrown weed fields in disarray and embarrassingly unkempt condition.
The beautiful little houses I remember were now in wrecked shambles if not outright torched.
Most of the trees I climbed and hunted squirrels in the neighborhood were gone.
Though the human conditions were nothing short of tragic, I was able to slow down and gaze into the Rouge River jungle just across the street that taught me all about the Spirit of the Wild and brought me immeasurable joy and exciting outdoor adventure.
And like an omen of hope, as I putted along Hazelton Street taking it all in, out of my youthful forest trotted a stunning whitetail deer, right in the middle of the day!
She paused and stared back at me from the neighboring yard, and the smile on my face lit up the world.
Much wildlife flourished in this riverine corridor. There were bobwhite quail, pheasants, coons, possums, skunks, fox, beaver, fox squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, turtles, frogs, rats, mice, shrews, gophers, ducks, geese, a plethora of songbirds and birds of prey, but there were never any deer in this part of the state when I was growing up.
Even in this now depressing societal tailspin, the spirit of the whitetail deer gave me hope that this wild place of my youth still had some of that same soul cleansing wildness of 70 years ago.
What a relief!
Up until the late 1960s, Michigan’s army of deerhunters all headed Up North for our beloved annual tradition.
Slowly but surely deer began to migrate farther south every year to the point where southern Michigan became overpopulated and more and more deerhunters stayed closer to home for their venison and fun.
I consistently count dead deer every few miles along southern Michigan roadways these days.
My first slingshot and first bow were handily created from woodland materials that I fabricated from my instinctual youthful imagination.
Experimenting with various saplings, I discovered which small tree would best hold its spine and better cast my crude arrows made from yet younger, smaller saplings and reeds.
Old kite twine and string salvaged from my weekly trash scavenging routine would be used for my bowstring.
A sturdy forked hickory branch would be whittled into a rather handsome, ergonomic slingshot.
Carefully sliced innertube rubber, also salvaged from trash picking, carefully tied to a small ammo pouch of old, discarded canvas would propel my meticulously chosen pebbles, marbles and ball bearings with pretty darn good accuracy.
I was the scourge of the wild!
My entire youth consisted of maximum time in the woods and swamps, in between school, chores and practicing my guitar.
71 years later, very little has changed in my life, though God, family and country remain the guiding forces above and beyond anything else.
As I write this little NugeBlog update in June of 2019, I am about to land in Wawa Ontario in a little twin-prop airplane for my annual Canadian bear hunt.
The ritual positive conversations celebrating truth, logic, commonsense and love of guns and hunting with both American and Canadian customs officers are reminders of why truth and logic are indeed both common and sensible.
I will again share phenomenal wilderness bearcamp campfires with the great lifetime guide and outfitter Rick Dickson, my Michigan BloodBrothers, ace taxidermist and bear master Joe Arbic and bowhunting/pilot Joe Jordan.
I am surrounded by killer musicians and dedicated hunters every day of my wonderful life. We simply cannot get enough of this stuff. That certainly hasn’t changed, and reminds me daily that no matter how crazy and illogical the world gets, the Great Spirit of the Wild will bring us much solace, tranquility and peace of mind.
They say we can’t rewind the clock and go back to our youth, but with clever priorities and smart choices in life, we can certainly take our youthful spirit forward into the future.
The future is now and the deerhunting season is approaching. Go walk that wild ground. Practice your marksmanship and archery every possible chance you can manipulate, and never let the Great Spirit vacate your mind, body, spirit and soul.
Carpe’ diem and live life like you mean it every day. Still today I am just like that little boy in Detroit long ago exploring the uncharted mystical wilds of Skunk Hollow. That same little whippersnapper will climb a tree today in the lap of God where the mighty black bear roams and the mystical flight of the arrow will drive him wild.
My state of the art Mathews bow, arrows and broadheads bear little resemblance to the handmade crude weapons of yore, but my hunter instincts and natural predator procedures remain as pure as the timeless wind.
Cling to the natural purities of life, and let the Great Spirit take you home into the lap of God everyday afield. Somethings, the best things, never change if we use our heads.