Ah, the joys of spring cleaning. What a wonderful American ritual it is to pursue cleanliness next to godliness as we tidy up our homes and properties following another cabin-fever-inspiring wintertime. Personal hygiene doesn’t end with sacred temple management but surely extends into our beloved homes as well. My kids were all taught this self-evident truth, and spring is welcomed by most Americans thusly as we clean up for another grand year of the American Dream.
Likewise, many of us begin to lovingly grab fistfuls of good mother earth as we connect to the sacred ground while we plant our gardens. Show me a person who tends his own garden, and I will show you a person with a higher quality of life. No food tastes better or is better for you than hands-on, homegrown. It is indeed perfection as the circle of life goes unbroken. I like it.
Tribe Nuge celebrates all these fine traditions and we enjoy them all immensely. But in addition to cleaning, maintenance and gardening, there are more powerful, intense springtime connections that millions of Americans enjoy and are pivotal to a Nugent spring.
Nothing says “Happy New Year” like spring turkey hunting, and with more wild turkeys in North America than at any time in recorded history, the mighty thunder chicken should be in everyone’s sights. With a radar approaching omniscience, this wary, wild, big-game bird is a force to reckon with, and when you challenge yourself with a simple, primitive bow and arrow, you are stealthily creeping into the world of the near-impossible. Maybe that’s why they taste so good. Hard-earned sustenance is always better than assembly line fodder. Know it. Kill it. Grill it.
But if you really want a springtime arrowgasm, nothing compares to the annual May trip my sons and I take into the lap of God - our ritualistic, last-frontier black bear hunt in Alaska. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, like millions of American sporters, the great spirit of the black bear beckons us into the wild again for a perfect rug-steak boogie. And like the incredible conservation success story of the wild turkey, there are also more black bears in North American today than ever in recorded history. How cool is that?
Unlike California, New Jersey and a few other states that continue to waste untold tax dollars with proven counterproductive, politically correct damage-control procedures - like capturing, tagging, relocating, recapturing, retagging and re-relocating, and paying off in more wasted tax dollars in compensation for destroyed property and livestock, and in some cases, human lives, then eventually killing the bears anyway and burying them - most states, like Alaska, keep this magnificent big-game animal in the asset column by managing black bears as the renewable big-game resource that they are.
My wonderful sons Toby and Rocco and I join our friends the Sims family in southeast Alaska’s Prince of Wales Archipelago where monster bears run amok smack-dab in the middle of God’s country.
Like whitetail deer, elk, turkey, moose, caribou, antelope and other big game, bears are exciting to hunt and delicious on the grill. And of course the legendary bear rug is put to the ultimate wise use as well, I assure you.
There are those poor, ignorant, disconnected souls who howl and squawk against bear hunting. But that self-imposed ignorance is ignored by those of us who know better, and we hunt and kill thousands and thousands of black bears all across North America every spring. With more than a million bears thriving beyond their historical ranges, we generate billions upon billions of dollars in revenues for local communities for licenses, permits, fees, guides, outfitters, travel, food, lodging, supplies, sporting goods, souvenirs and a long list of economic productivity that puts the mighty black bear solidly into the asset column where this majestic beast belongs.
My bear encounter last week in the stunning wilds of New Brunswick gave me pure wilderness chills as the omnivorous beast slowly made its way into my beautiful forest ambush, where a well-placed arrow killed it within seconds of the shot. This gorgeous specimen was an old, mature bear with a spectacular long, luxurious black coat, a mouthful of deadly capable fangs, and claws made for taking down moose and other bears. Maybe guitar players, too.
As my hero Fred Bear said, the mighty bear will “cleanse the soul!”
Bear hunting is not for everybody, just like the city life, escargot, sushi, tofu, NASCAR and everything else in life. But as long as we continue to respect the big-game animals like the black bear that feed, shelter, clothe and inspire us, America’s wildlife will continue to thrive and be the envy of the world.
The hunting lifestyle is quality control, not to be confused with the irresponsible waste of damage control when intelligent hunting procedures are abandoned in the name of “feel good” political correctness. Never should bureaucrats be allowed to waste more of our hard-earned tax dollars to kill our big game for us when we the people are more than happy to pay for the joys of such a direct connection to nature.
Nature as healer, bear tenderloins as BBQ. Perfection is just an arrow away.
Ted Nugent is an unstoppable American rock ‘n’ roll, sporting and political activist icon. He is author of “Ted, White & Blue: The Nugent Manifesto” and “God, Guns and Rock ‘N’ Roll” (Regnery Publishing).