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Ted Nugent: What Happened to Fair Chase Hunting?

black  tailed deer

Young male Columbian black-tailed deer, Walter Siegmund

Gun nut and 70s rock start Ted Nugent just pled no contest to two hunting violation in California. Game wardens originally filed 11 violations, including baiting a deer and hunting a buck that was too young, against him after seeing an episode of his “Spirit of the Wild” TV show. Once again we see that hunters may talk a lot about “fair chase,” but never seem to let it get in their way of a good time.

Nugent seems to have gotten off pretty lightly. The Sacremento Bee says he plead no contest “Friday in Yuba County Superior Court to two misdemeanors: baiting a deer and failing to have a deer hunting tag signed by a reviewing official after a kill. He was fined $1,750.” I didn’t know law enforcement offered the “neither admit nor deny any wrongdoing” deal to anybody but Wall Street crooks. Now, in his defense, I’d have to say that he truly didn’t understand the rules if he aired what he was doing on TV. But, if you hold yourself out as a defender of righteous hunting, then you better know and follow the rules.

Nugent posted a lame half-apology:

To my Fellow Outdoorsmen…. You may have read the news that I pled no contest to two misdemeanor game violations. I should have been better informed, more aware and I take full responsibility. The honorable hunting lifestyle is my deepest passion.

Ted Nugent

California bans hunting over bait–as most states do. Michigan Hunting Today found that 22 states allow hunting over bait and eight of those only allow it in certain areas.  Some think it spreads Chronic Wasting Disease. Even many hunters find baiting unsportsmanlike because it makes it so easy.

California also count shooting a buck without branched antlers–as his target was–as an antlerless deer, one you need a special permit to kill.

The deer he shot was a Columbian black-tail. In the area where he shot it, their population is stable or in decline, but way down from the 19070s.

So far the hunting community reaction has been, predictably, to play up their our-way-of-life-is-under assault schtick. One company, Magnus, pulled back on their relationship. The writer at skinny moose called the company’s move “simply an overreaction” and cautioned that “We within the hunting community have a tendency to eat our own so I guess that is why Magnus took such quick swift action.”

When? When does the hunting community police its own? The only big revulsion I recall is when Nugent and others put pressure on Jim Zumbo for saying he didn’t think shooting at prairie dogs with AK-47s was really sport hunting. In today’s culture of hunter as victim, it seems you can never be ostracized for being too aggressive, only for saying others are.

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