The Spirit of the Beast

July 31, 2019 | « back

By: Ted Nugent

For my entire adult life, I have celebrated and promoted the spiritual dynamo of the hunting lifestyle and our very special participatory oneness with God’s miraculous creation.

It’s all about the Spirit of the Wild!

Going all the way back to my earliest musical adventures, spurred on in many ways and certainly paralleled year for year with my bowhunting upbringing, in my own mushybrained, not yet developed youthful intellect, I always felt the presence of The Great Spirit more than I actually understood it.

The near impossible task and my indefatigable effort of getting close to wild things with my home-made hickory slingshot, Red Ryder BB gun and my precious yew longbow and arrows taught me much each day afield, that the hopeful act of potentially killing that critter was vastly overpowered, even eclipsed, by the daunting challenge of temporarily overcoming their miraculous design to avoid me.

With all the seemingly insurmountable difficulties of the hunting challenge, I could have easily become terminally frustrated and eventually given up, but instead, such difficulty merely drove me to try harder, learn more, improvise, adapt and hopefully overcome the self-inflicted human shortcoming obstacle course to my inner reasoning predator dreams.

Same thing goes with guitar playing, welding and all meaningful endeavors; work hard and never giveup.

If hunting was indeed about the goal of killing things, I would have felt helplessly inept in those early years and traded in my bow and arrow for a chicken raising/killing business.

Hence, the honest, pragmatic, utilitarian, intellectual, inescapably reverential genuflecting at the altar of the mighty Spirit of the Wild and all her majestic beasts.

There certainly is a spirituality to the physical pursuit of excellence, and there is truly a physicality to the embracing of The Spirit.

Though we all know and respect the casual hunter, we are also very aware of the ultimate pursuit and dedication to the Samurai/Zen level of any given endeavor, particularly the self-preservation, self-sufficiency instinct and drive to live and survive that is the hunting lifestyle in its purest form, and our hands-on relationship with all the proven systems and resources by which life is accomplished and fortified.

Based on a long lifetime of lively and uninhibited conversations around definitively intimate campfires, I have found that this ultra-high level of hunting dedication may not be the highest percentage norm within our sport, but it is certainly alive and well in the gungho deerhunting conservation camps of my hunting life every year.

The words possessed and obsessed come to mind more often than not, and this is a good thing.

My amazing rock-n-roll band of virtuosos are both possessed and obsessed with musical excellence.

My amazing professional touring tech crew qualifies on both counts, as does everyone around me from business to family, friends and hunting buddies.

When we settle into our duckblind or deerstand, when we unleash the excited dogs for upland game or the howling hounds for a frenetic bear, lion or hog chase, when we nock our arrow and snick off the safety of our firearm of choice, those rattled nerves and throttling goosebumps on goosebumps are telltale signs that we are in the realm and grasp of The Great Spirit.

I’m here to tell you!

It is certainly ok in the larger picture of things to simply look at the deer as a basic target that needs to die and we need to eat, but eventually most hunters will come to terms with the deeper connection with the Spirit of the beast, and the deeper the connection and awareness with that spirit, the better the hunter we will become.

My maniacal, over the top musical career manifests itself in its finest hour as a firebreathing energy storm of rhythms, sounds, dangerously high-volume guitar assaults and a bombardment of musical suckerpunches to the solar plexus.

There is an undeniable spirit to that creative adventure as well, as my band and I communicate internally as one with the songs.

But as a hunter, the manifestation of our hunt will eventually include the taking of a life, for all the right and proper reasons, and therefore we must dig as deep as a human is capable of digging, to connect with this living gift of life from God Himself.

The Native peoples considered a kill not as something we accomplished, but rather a gift from the Great Spirit as a life-giving reward for dedicating ourselves to a responsible, deadly proficiency to kill cleanly and quickly in order to deserve the gift.

So this season, think about a deeper, more spiritual pursuit in the deerwoods, and see how deep we can go to experience that out of body oneness with the Spirit of the beast.

I am convinced the hunt will be more fun and fulfilling and the backstraps will be that much more delicious and fortifying.

May the Great Spirit be forever at your side and in your heart and belly.