By: Ted Nugent
Every hunt is special, exciting, interesting, educational, ultraFUN and mystical to say the least. But on October 20, 2018, deep in my traditional Michigan swampland, the mysticism factor accelerated to a higher degree than usual and every thrilling moment is imprinted on my very happy psyche like a timeless drawing on cave wall.
The air was so thick with wet, floating fog that you could taste the dying, golden Tamarac needles in the surrounding fen. Visibility was cut to just a few yards in my ladderstand along the winding, gurgling creek and the hammering of big, noisy Pileated woodpeckers provided the ultimate soundtrack for my Spirit of the Wild fall morning of bowhunting.
Master VidCamDude Ethan Wiskur and I knew all too well how a Michigan whitetail hunter must remain silent, motionless and vigilant, so we blended in our beautiful wooded, marshy habitat like the mink, muskrat, beaver, deer, turkey, rabbits, pheasants, woodcock and other assorted wildlife with which we shared this sacred ground.
We fit in and we belonged.
Along with the woodpeckers, cranes and geese, you could hear the distant chugging of farm machinery, a train whistle, far away dog barking and even the highway sounds that were many miles away.
There are not many settings available in life that are more soothing and soul cleansing as a foggy marsh with bow and arrows in hand.
After a spell, a slow glance to the east produced the distinct image of a large, grey, muscled backside of a deer emerging from the tall reed-grasses and cattails, and when the beast lifted its head, we had SpiritWild liftoff! Showtime chillin’!
Ethan carefully brought the vidcam into play as I cautiously positioned myself for an imminent shot.
When the mature buck turned slightly at what I had ranged at 35 yards, my 50 pound Mathews bow came to fulldraw with a life of its own, and my shot sequence mantra went through my well-rehearsed list of kill bulletpoints on auto-pilot.
My arrow sliced through the big buck like a hot knife through butter, but a little bit low, and the stag bounded three long jumps ahead and stopped, not knowing what had just happened.
The buck was now at 50 yards walking slowly and looking around when in an instant my 2nd arrow flew true to the ribcage with a welcomed audible thunk.
With one long leap, he stopped, wobbled, and crumpled into the sawgrass, finished.
A happy life includes as many jubilant, rejoicing moments as we can muster. Afterall, what is the American Dream other than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness like you mean it!
Well, there is nothing I wish for more than everyone to experience and celebrate the phenomenal, outrageous level of happiness that permeated my swamp this morning. All my daily dedicated archery practice at Morrell targets from 15 to 60 yards paid off rewarding me backstraps and immeasurable joy as I slowly strolled to my fallen gift.
He was huge. He was regal. He was majestic. He was dead and he was mine, all mine.
I knelt in the wet muck and held his beast of a head and antlers in my hands, gazing reverentially upon his majesty and hulk.
This old stud was probably six and a half years old, weighed well over 200 pounds, stunk the sweet aroma of full-on rutting tarsal goo and carried a great crown of chocolate bone to boot.
I sat there with him for quite a while, not willing to let the magic moment go.
Dear Lord was I happy as happy can be.
The beast is dead, long live the mighty beast.