The Northern Michigan forest was aglow with October’s firestorm of colors and blazing sensual stimuli galore. The crisp air was delicious as I breathed in my ultimate ritualistic annual soul cleansing effervescence.
A ruffed grouse drummed, a woodpecker hammered, squirrels scurried heather and yon. Honking geese came and went and a distant train whistle punctuated by the occasional gunshot all created the ultimate symphony of God’s miraculous creation. I was so home.
To take what was already my ultimate fall dream to indescribable heights, was a tall, lanky gentleman strolling at my side, pulling a small oxygen tank on wheels with two clear tubes plugged into his nose. The imprinted image of his classic Borsalino wool hat sat slightly tilted on his head, a warm, kind smile lighting up his strong, weathered face.
It was late October 1987, and I was once again honored beyond words to be the invited guest of my hero, the legendary Fred Bear, at his famous Grouse Haven deercamp near Rose City, Michigan.
Are you kidding me? Fred Bear? Lord have mercy! How lucky can a guy get?
I once played bass guitar for Chuck Berry, was taught how to off-road race by Parnelli Jones, jammed with Stevie Ray Vaughn and married Shemane Nugent. Bowhunting with Fred Bear took the cake, (slightly behind marrying Shemane) and I was living this unbelievable dream for all it was worth.
It was on this, what turned out to be Fred’s last hunt in life that I was blessed with a brief moment of personal time with the great man, and it was one of the most powerful moments in my life.
A very long story short, Fred told me how he wasn’t so sure of this loud rock-n-roll MotorCity 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, especially to the demographic I impacted the most-America’s youth, far beyond the choir of traditional hunting families across the land.
He told me how impressed he was with my media interviews and how much he appreciated me fighting the culture war raging against the hunting lifestyle even though I surely didn’t have to.
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.
Sometimes you give the world the best you got, and you get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you got anyway. Well, I certainly already knew that, but it sure was powerfully reassuring coming from this incredible man.
Fred died that following April, and I decided to take his words to the ultimate level and create a nonprofit children’s charity. Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids was unleashed, and with an amazing army of hardcore 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 The American Dream.
So here in the SpiritWild campfire I would like to thank the army of BloodBrother volunteers in MI, NE, IA, CO and SD and all those across America for their generosity, sacrifices and hard work for twenty-five years of bringing a huge quality of life upgrade to more than 15,000 kids and their families.
This wonderful charity might have my name attached to it to maximize the public relations possibilities, but the real salute goes to all those individuals that make it happen. A salute to the Nebraska Bowhunters, the Iowa Bowhunters, the Colorado Bowhunters, the National Field Archery Association, the amazing donations of so many sporting manufacturers and companies, the various state law enforcement and game department volunteers, and the incredible donations by so many loving, caring families who have invested in America’s most important natural resource-the children of America.
Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids is a nonprofit 501C3 charity, where no donations go to any administrative costs, only those costs associated with making sure the kids get the best experience possible, by the most capable, professional, caring volunteers possible, to teach them these most important values in life.
I communicate with many of these TNKFK Kampers, and believe me when I tell you, we have created a positive force of youth to be reckoned with.
No animal rights freaks will ever scam these kids. No “peer pressure” bullies will ever scam these kids. No gangbangers or dopers will ever have their way with these kids.
Thank you all for doing God’s work. Thank you all for fortifying the future of America by fortifying the children who will carryon. Thank you for spreading the Spirit of the Wild and teaching these most important of life’s values. Thank you for saving their lives. Thank you for saving America.
Godbless the children. Godbless America. Godspeed Fred Bear.