BackStraps for the Masses By Ted Nugent
Oct 30, 2007 - 6:32:56 PM
Attempting to draw back a bowstring in the restricted, demanding airspace of archery range on a magnificent prey animal like the whitetail deer is spellbinding everytime for me. Most prey animals are equipped with a nearly omniscient, impenetrable radar, capable of alerting them to danger even beyond their uncanny hearing, seeing, smelling, sensing senses of God designed survival apparatus.
Of course we all know that it is this incredible challenge that qualifies our hunting activities as the amazing "sport" that it is. That is why it is so compelling, so much fun, and a source of unprecedented invigoration when we are able to apply ourselves to the intense test and actually bring home the bacon on occasion. Spectacular, soul cleansing recreation at its finest, no doubt.
Now I surely understand that not all deer are created equal, and certainly not all bowhunters are either. I was raised on the insanely high-strung, ultra spooky Michigan super subspecies of maniac deer that are born looking up into the trees and walking backwards, all senses on red alert 24/7/365. Fascinating really. Though we kill nearly a half a million there every year during the natural season of harvest, and another 100,000 are smashed by vehicles per annum, I'll bet another huge number die of stress related heart attacks simply because they are so unbelievably fidgety and paranoid. Especially on my hunting grounds. We are seeing this increased spookiness in our Texas deer more and more all the time. Gungho over the top hunting pressure from the Nugent camp brings panic into their lives I am sure.
I have also celebrated the arrowing of the occasional drunken, mentally retarded deer of certain areas of Texas and specific pockets of Illinois. In these weird areas of limited human pressure, I must admit that some of the deer could be considered downright stupid. For various reasons, they simply accept human scent and intrusion as inconsequential, until of course my broadhead disconnects their pumpstation and they die. But then of course it is too late for them to discover a fear factor with which to inspire the resurrection of natural escape instincts that could save them from the next predator encounter. And I am here to tell you, I truly cherish those instances when a less than cautious deer accepts some of my fumbling, arrow banging, foot scraping, noise making mistakes, and still stand there and let me shoot them. I have been tortured and ridiculed often enough in my fifty odd years of bowhunting to deserve an occasional "easy" deer. Godbless the easy deer. They BBQ up real nice and eat good too.
I think I've seen it all, or damn close. I've hunted in about forty of our fifty states, most Canadian provinces, more than a few African countries and still have a long way to go. But more and more I am driven to stay home and hunt on my traditional family hunting grounds that seem to call my name more powerfully every year. Having the good fortune of learning to make intelligent life priorities at an early age, I probably hunt more days per year than most people get to hunt in a lifetime. How cool is that?
That God loves me madly is quite obvious, for He made me a hunter, then created conditions that have caused the deer herds of North America to explode in my lifetime. This is good for a family who cherish venison and the hunt. That American hunters kill, grill and serve more than 250 million meals of venison to our fellow needy Americans at soup kitchens and homeless shelters through our Hunters for the Hungry charities every year is about as good as it gets. Reducing overpopulated deerherds is our responsibility, and killing more and more female deer each season is the best way to accomplish this balancing act in most instances. I like this. I thoroughly enjoy my patient ambush time in treestands and groundblinds on beautiful, wildlife infested habitat. I take deep into my heart every birdsong, wind change, barometric rise and fall, scent, sound, sight and spiritual breeze.
I feel that mighty spirit of creation and genuflect in His presence, most apparent and profound in the wild. I put my heart and soul into being the best, most efficient, effective reasoning predator I can be. Sure, there are many days when the freezer is full and the local soup kitchen pantries are bulging with protein, that I let many, many deer walk by without drawing my arrow back. I love deer for all the right reasons. But more often than not, I take an approaching doe as the gift from the heavens that it is, truly a bowhunting trophy of a lifetime. I get all psyched up, giddy and focused in preparation for a good arrow, the recipe for which is rather demanding and exciting. When it all comes together and luck is on my side, the Gods of the hunt smiling down upon me and the deer, and that mystical arrow zips through the vitals of the beast, I am one very happy hunter. I process my prize and I say the backstrap prayer and continue the pure celebration. You can't grill it till you kill it. It is as it should be.