Ted Nugent took aim Tuesday at a new rule prohibiting baiting and feeding deer and elk in Michigan, insisting the ban will lead to “widespread civil disobedience” among fellow hunters.
Mr. Nugent, a Michigan-born rock guitarist and longtime board member of the National Rifle Association, testified in front of a state House committee in support of a bill that would overturn the recently enacted rule against baiting game.
“This is a Rosa Parks moment,” Mr. Nugent told reporters afterward, according to the Detroit Free Press. “The law is wrong, the law is bad, the law is illegal.”
Backed by both the Michigan state Department of Natural Resources and Natural Resources Commission, the rule banning hunters from feeding deer and elk is meant to lower the odds of the animals spreading certain diseases, according to its advocates.
“We believe the authority to ban baiting and feeding should remain with the Natural Resources Commission, the body responsible for regulating the method and manner of take of game in Michigan,” said DNR spokesperson Ed Golder. “In addition, peer-reviewed research has shown that baiting and feeding that concentrates animals beyond their normal movement patterns increases the likelihood of disease transmission.”
Mr. Nugent took issue with the state for standing by the peer-review research, however, slamming both the DNR and NRC over the ban, local media reported.
“They’re either liars or they’re stupid,” said Mr. Nugent, Michigan’s Up North Live news site reported. “But, in the world of political correctness, some guy in a lab coat made a decision. He’s never even eaten a deer; he’s never been in a deer woods and if he has, he’s either lying or hopelessly ignorant. I want regulations based on sound science to keep these precious wildlife resources in the asset column, attracted to the hunting families in Michigan, to become a destination state.”
“I am the ultimate conservationist and I killed two mature bucks on my property last year with my bow and arrow, neither of them anywhere near bait. I don’t need to bait. Nobody needs to bait. I don’t need an 850 horsepower hellcat either but I’m an American and I own that property,” added Mr. Nugent, according to the outlet. “If you don’t want to hunt over bait, it’s pretty simple. Don’t. We choose. It’s a choice.”
Mr. Nugent, 70, was born in Redford, a suburb of Detroit, but moved to Texas more than a decade ago, even buying property nearby then-President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford. Dubbed the “Motor City Madman,” Mr. Nugent previously wrote columns for The Washington Times.
The recently enacted ban on baiting game is not state-wide: it applies throughout Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and in parts of the Upper Peninsula where a high number of deer have become infected in recent years with a certain, contagious neurological disease known as chronic wasting disease.
The bill backed by Mr. Nugent, HB 4687, is not likely to be considered before bow hunting season begins next month, the Detroit Free Press reported. Firearm hunting season starts Nov. 15.