By TED NUGENT
Editor’s Note – This issue, I defer my regular space to my friend and mentor, Ted Nugent. For every article you see in Outdoor Guide Magazine, he has four or five more that would be published if we had more room. Enjoy Ted’s words now, and savor wisdom from perhaps the greatest conservation author, ever. Ever! – Bobby Whitehead
There is a vast, stunning, towering, soul-cleansing forest in the swamplands of southern Michigan that an uppity guitar player planted by hand.
With many indigenous coniferous and deciduous species of trees, some now more than 45 years old, this mystical woodland paradise is living proof that real, honest-to-God sweat equity-prioritized stewardship can and will make a difference for thriving wildlife and healthy wild ground, not to mention a sense of gratifying fulfillment and soul-cleansing spiritual fortification that makes a man feel all warm and good inside.
Everybody knows that nature heals, even just as a spectator. But when you actually plunge your fists into good old dirty terra firma as a hands-on participant, the healing goes much deeper, I assure you.
I am convinced that planting trees every spring makes for a better, more soulful and extremely happy guitar player!
I began digging, sticking and heeling thousands and thousands of various seedlings into our little Michigan family farm way back around 1970, and along with my tribe have continued to do so every year since to create and grow our beloved Nugent Woods.
The coniferous cathedral provides critical thermal cover for all the critters to survive the severe Midwest winters. The reliable mast from the various hardwoods provide life-giving protein and nourishment throughout their lives.
The puckerbrush hellhole tangles of thousands and thousands of autumn and Russian olive bushes, multi-flora rose and wild grapevines create sanctuary from sharp-stick-wielding rock ‘n’ roll predators and assorted killers of the wild.
Add to this the annual foodplots and various agriculture we plant and cultivate each year, and what we have here my Spirit BloodBrothers, is a glorious, man-made wildlife heaven, bought, paid for, created and nurtured by a family of dedicated hands-on conservationists, the likes of which is repeated each year by many millions of hunting families and hardworking land owners across America.
I thank and salute you all and am honored to call you Spirit BloodBrothers! Rejoice like you mean it, for we are the ultimate conservationist environmentalists and damn proud of it!
A powerful and pivotal force by we the people in the asset column of nature, it is this serious investment of hard work and dedication that is the nucleus of these glorious good old days of deer hunting in North America.
I personally have never met a landowner who doesn’t cherish the wildlife-supporting acre or acres we have worked so hard to own. Land unto itself means nothing without the knowledge and understanding that we share it with the precious wildlife that we so love.
GIVE MORE BACK
From this sacred ground comes not just life itself, but what many of us believe to be the ultimate quality of life, in the form of cleansed air, soil, water, fuel, protein, clothing, tools, weapons, medicine, shelter and immeasurable spiritual fortification, knowing certainly that we are utilizing our gift of life to the fullest by putting more back into nature than we consume.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if such important lessons of life were actually taught in our so-called American education system? Fat chance.
In the schools’ absence of critical quality-of-life lessons in individual earthly conservation responsibilities, as usual it will be up to we the people of the natural world to teach the young.
As we gear up for the greatest hunting season of our lives, now is the time for us to ponder how we will spend our deer-camp time with family and friends. Life has a way of overpowering our lives, thoughts and instincts, but there is no better environment or time than around the hunting season campfire, buck pole or dinner table to keep the conversation alive about nature, and our duties to her, than when the pure, seasonal Spirit of the Wild is such a wonderful and inescapable force all around us.
Emphasizing the renewability of our hunting lifestyle at this time of year, particularly with Thanksgiving on the horizon, imprints strongly on all who hear it.
THE SPIRIT CALLS
In a world gone mad with the dangerous lie of political correctness and the shameful denial it creates, those of us still grounded on nature’s reality must constantly push forward on these important points.
With various hunting seasons in full swing now, getting into our reasoning predator mindset is Job One for all of us right now.
Never forget that Job One-A is spreading the good word, educating everyone we can and celebrating this last pure tooth, fang and claw hands-on conservation lifestyle like we mean it in thought, word, action and deed.
It may be the natural season of harvest, but fall is also a great time to plant trees! Make it an annual family party!
Aim small, miss small, but think BIG and plant a tree! The Great Spirit calls our name!