If camera phones were as prevalent 30 years ago as they are now, there would probably be some very embarrassing clips of my friends and me playing air guitar to Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever.” We all loved him when he was just a hard-rocking entertainer.
But like too many entertainers these days, he couldn’t just stick to entertaining. He had to start talking about his personal life and stuff that has nothing to do with the stuff that made him a celebrity.
At first, I liked that he was a celebrity who supported gun rights and hunting, but quickly realized he was nothing like the real outdoorsmen and women I have met across the continent.
Recently, Nugent did a couple things that should make all outdoorsmen and women think twice before citing him as a representative of anything except his own bizarre notions of hunting and patriotism.
According to the Associated Press, in August 2010, California revoked Nugent’s deer hunting license after he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of deer baiting and not having a properly signed tag.
Nugent’s loss of that deer hunting license through June 2012 allows 34 other states to revoke the same privilege under the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Each state, however, can interpret and enforce the agreement differently.
Then, last month, he pleaded guilty in Alaska to illegally shooting and killing a bear in 2009 on Sukkwan Island days after wounding another bear on a bow hunt, which counted toward a state seasonal limit of one bear.
Nugent agreed to pay a $10,000 fine, according to his plea agreement, which says he also agreed with a two-year probation, including a special condition that he not hunt or fish in Alaska or Forest Service properties for one year. He also agreed to create a public service announcement that would be broadcast on his show every second week for one year, the document states.
While I can personally attest that Alaska’s hunting rules are often complicated and onerous, I have never been cited for any violations in 11 years, despite being checked in the field by troopers every year. It is the hunter’s duty to know the rules.
By anyone’s definition, Ted Nugent is a two-time convicted game thief. A poacher.
That makes him the kind of pseudo-outdoorsman all legitimate outdoorsmen and women should publically scold and ignore. But because Nugent is an entertainer and on the right side of some guns laws, some outdoorsmen give him a pass.
If he were a regular joe, no one would listen to him or be caught dead hunting with him.
In case all of his hunting crimes weren’t enough to cause the hunting world to distance them from Nugent, he went for the trifecta of stupidity and made a statement about the president of the United States many interpret as threatening.
“If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent said to NRA supporters in April 2012. “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
Though Nugent said he was just speaking figuratively and that he didn’t threaten anyone’s life or advocate violence, it is shameful and wholly un-American to use such language about any democratically elected U.S. President.
He said his words were a metaphor, but intelligent people know intolerance and hate when they hear it.
Everyone should support Nugent’s right to dislike any politician and speak out against them in a nonthreatening manner. As an outdoorsman, however, I just wish he would do it with a guitar in his hand instead of a camouflage hat on his head.
Don Mulligan can be reached at