Conservation Is Not Rocket Science

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 20, 2012 | Go to article overview

Conservation Is Not Rocket Science


Byline: Ted Nugent, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Tribe Nuge pulled into the little clearing on the banks of the mighty Tittabawassee River in the spectacular wilds of northern Michigan. Our 1958 Ford station wagon was loaded down with all the basic camping gear and archery equipment. We all eagerly pitched in to set up the old log cabin with iron skillets, camping supplies, sleeping bags, bows, arrows and all the basics for my favorite thing in life - rough-and-tumble bowhunting the old-fashioned way.

With no electricity or running water, even young Ted at the tender age of 9 had a full regimen of chores to fulfill, so I started by gathering firewood and hauling water from the eddy below camp. Mom organized the cooking utensils over the wood-burning stove, and my brother Jeff rolled out sleeping bags and hung the bows and arrows on the porch nails. Dad cut some deadwood for the cold night's fires, and the wilderness was abuzz with what I considered the happiest family on planet Earth.

Quality-of-life lessons were driven home on those soul-cleansing expeditions of my youth, teaching me the ultimate hands-on conservation ethic, which a person could understand without ever uttering or hearing the word conservation.

I clearly understood the concept of wise use before I ever heard the words, for my father wouldn't allow us to waste anything. The thought of throwing out food or water was virtually unheard of, and no one would dare fail to consume every scrap of precious game meat, sucking every delectable sliver of sacred flesh from each and every bone.

Though we did do a little plinking with the single-shot .22 rifle, every round of .22 short ammo was handled with tender loving care, and every target was planned with maximum effect, whether for aim-small-miss-small discipline or killing game for the pot. Every groundhog was handled like the life-giving venison that it represented, and responsible wise use didn't need to be spelled out to the Nugent kids. The pragmatic waste not want not mantra was drilled into our heads from birth.

So now, these many years later, one need only watch anyone in my family, including children and grandchildren, to see the same attitude and attentiveness to accountability. To caring people, there is no Plan B. It is a tragedy to witness Plan B in action when you see people, especially young people, leave half-consumed bottles of $4-a-gallon water discarded everywhere you look and the horror of obesity and a disposable society gone mad.

The good news is that real-world hands-on conservation is alive and well and catching on across the America I travel. Not a day goes by when I am not stopped by people of every imaginable description and walk of life in any given city to chat about my Spirit of the Wild TV show on the Outdoor Channel or discuss my books, media interviews or various public celebrations about my exciting hunting lifestyle. There is no question that but for a sizable lunatic fringe, the majority of people are aware of the incredible success story of wildlife conservation in North America and elsewhere. …

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