Ted Nugent Interview
Q: What is your favorite hunting memory? Why was it so special?
A: I think back fondly to our annual family bowhunting excursions in Northern Michigan for opening day of bow season every October. My mind reels with graphic, stimulating details of the gas stations with bows and arrows and guns and ammo on display. The firestorm of colors in those Michigan hardwoods is as if they are silkscreened on my soul. I can see my hero, Fred Baer, sitting next to me at the counter of the Grayling restaurant, eating our cherry pie and sipping big glasses of milk together; incredible memories overall. But every hunt is indescribably thrilling, no matter where, what, or when. It is always about the “who,” and I’ve shared so many very special campfires with so many special people, that my glowing memory cup runneth over!
Q: How did the idea and concept of Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild come about?
A: Hunting and all things outdoors are our cherished lifestyle, so we knew that an honest documentary presentation of how the majority of American hunting families celebrate this hands-on conservation lifestyle would be entertaining, fun, educational, and most importantly, a dynamic sucker punch to the soulless guts of the anti-hunting animal rights loony fringe freaks out there. Talk about win, win, win!! We don’t produce our show per se, but rather simply push the record button and document the honest, down to earth, pragmatic, natural lifestyle of hunting, fishing, trapping, resource stewardship, and ultimate accountable environmentalism. We are the tooth, fang, and claw truth family.
Q: What is your go-to bow of choice? What makes it the best?
A: I shoot, test, abuse, and experiment with every bow out there, and I fell in love with the feel and efficiency of my Mathews. I’ve got my amazing Mathews Halon bow on the road with me, and as the ultimate warmup for the ultimate rock-n-roll outrage every night, there is nothing that can compare with the aim small, miss small, mystical flight of the arrow from this great piece of equipment.
Q: You’ve been inducted into the National Bowhunters Hall of Fame. Are there any tips you can give out to those who may just be starting to use a bow?
A: Guide the youngsters slow and easy into the sport, and give them a helping hand. But guide them to do everything themselves, so that they feel a sense of belonging, and the joys of struggle, along with the gratification of individual accomplishment. Dedication and practice, practice, practice is still the guiding force to becoming proficient.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids? What inspired you to develop this program?
A: Being honored to know the great Fred Baer my whole life, it was on what turned out to be Fred’s last hunt in, October of 1987, that I was blessed with another very special time with the great man. It was one of the most powerful moments in my life. Fred told me how he wasn’t so sure of this loud rock-n-roll Motor City Madman at first, until he learned of my militant defiance of substance abuse, gung-ho law enforcement support, family values, and nonstop dedication to promoting bowhunting and conservation to the masses everywhere I went. But the most important thing he told me this memorable day, was how I should ignore my critics, who he said were just “small- minded, jealous fools who didn’t understand how to stand up for the important things in a meaningful, effective way.” Fred died that following April, and I decided to take his words to the ultimate level and create a nonprofit children’s charity. Our 501-C3 Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids was unleashed, and with an amazing army of hardcore, dedicated volunteers, we set about to bring the outdoor lifestyle to its maximum visibility by holding annual camps where we teach archery, bowhunting, hunter education, firearm’s safety and marksmanship, trapping, fishing, conservation, animal husbandry, slingshot marksmanship, spear chucking, woodsmanship, wood crafting, wilderness survival, flint napping, wildlife education, skinning, gutting, butchering, and a strong sense of militant anti-substance abuse, and how being the best you can be – clean and sober – is the only way to obtain The American Dream. We have graduated more than 16,000 youngsters in Michigan, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa, and we fill all camps each year to capacity.
Q: Why do you enjoy this time of year so much?
A: Nature heals, and during the explosive natural phenomenon of the fall season of harvest, the Nugent family is moved deep in our souls to celebrate Thanksgiving every step of the way. Tis the hunting season and I am in 100% committed. Hunting, fishing, and trapping are essential responsibilities to a balanced, healthy, natural world, and we are an integral part of America’s history and culture. Once necessary to survive, hunting and fishing are now two very popular forms of recreation, while keeping millions of American families connected to the land and its precious creatures. Like all my friends, we hunt simply because we are hunters and it is perfect.
Q: What episode of Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild has been your favorite so far? Why?
A: That would be impossible to narrow down, as we thoroughly enjoy everything we do outdoors. Personally, I prefer each episode my amazing “Queen of the Forest” wife, Shemane, is on as she is so good at what she does and so exciting to watch doing it!
Q: Do you have any hunts left on your bucket list? What would be your dream adventure?
A: Though I have always fantasized about hunting the various wild sheep species, mountain goats, and other critters, I live my ultimate dream every day afield on our sacred family properties in Michigan and Texas for all game. Close to home, with my family and dogs, is my favorite hunting in the world!
Q: How rewarding is it to prepare and enjoy your own kill? What are some homecooked favorites?
A: Rugged individualism, genuine independence, and overall self-sufficiency are the ultimate rewards of gratification. Wild game is the most nutritious and delicious protein on earth. Period. No matter the critter, from squirrel, fowl, moose, and caribou, to antelope or venison of any kind, killing quick and clean and keeping the carcass clean and cold are the keys to ultimate table fare. Pick a shank, slab, haunch, or strap from any game, clean off all membrane and fat, and marinate overnight in half olive oil and half Vernor’s Ginger Ale, with lots of finely diced garlic, white and red onion, a little salt and pepper. Then, tong the slabs onto nice, hot, orange natural-wood coals until singed on each side, but pink in the middle. Do the same with potatoes and vegetables of choice, and you are in for the highest of taste bud highs.
Q: If you could only choose one hobby, would it be the bow or the guitar? Why?
A: I so love and crave making music, that it was inevitable that music would be my life, my avocation, and my life-supporting vocation. Thusly, I so maniacally crave and love my hunting, that it, too, was destined to be much more than just a casual hobby in my life. Rocking and touring full-time made me realize that the spirit and stealth of my hunting lifestyle powerfully fortified the authority of my music, and vice versa. The loud, high velocity ferocity of my musical career set me up to immensely value and appreciate my quiet predator stealth time beyond the sonic bombast of the concrete jungle of my musical adventures. Like everybody I know, I work as hard as I can humanly push myself, in order to take maximum time to hunt. Eventually, the intensity of my hunting celebration in the media ignited enough fires to push me into creating a guiding and outfitting business, Sunrize Safaris, and eventually create the number-one-rated hunting TV show, our beloved Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild on Outdoor Channel. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, constitutes one hell of a dreamy American Dream.
Q: What can we expect from Ted Nugent in the future? Anything new in the works?
A: Music is my life driving force and I play the living hell out of my guitars daily, and as sure as the sun rises in the east, killer licks, ideas, grooves, patterns, and songs erupt every time! My intense life has many priorities that keep me very busy, but we all hope like mad to record some of these new masterpieces ASAP! We’re touring nonstop right into the opening of hunting season as always, and then we’ll be documenting how millions of American hunting and fishing families still live off the land and represent the frontlines for real hands-on conservation and true environmentalism. Then, if lucky, we will hit the studio to record a new killer record next spring!