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Ted Nugent on High Fence Hunting
Exclusive Interview: Ted Nugent on High Fence Hunting - Field & Stream Magazine Feature

F&S Contributing Editor Hal Herring sat down with Ted Nugent the other day to pick his brain on the question of high-fence hunting. The interview got a bit heated when The Nuge took issue with some of Hal's questions, calling them "loaded with assumptions and ignorant bias." Check it out below, then let us know; is this just another example of "hippie, dope-smoking antihunting 'journalism'?" What do you think of high-fence operations?

Simply put, is high fence hunting, "hunting?

Of course, if all the factors of escape and stealth are in play. Terrain, size, layout,
balanced animal populations, the very conditions that determine quality hunting
anywhere determine the quality of the experience, fenced or unfenced. The easiest deer I've ever killed were whitetails in Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota, due to these universal truisms, but lack of hunting pressure. Conversely, the most difficult deer I have yet to kill are found on my own SpiritWild Ranch in central Texas where for the last 21 days, I haven't killed jack squat. Go figure.

Does high fence hunting degrade the heritage of American hunting and the notion of fair chase, and respect for wildlife and the quarry?

There will always be whiners and small-minded squawkers who overreact based on assumption and other unidentifiable presumptuous notions. There are those small minded individuals, a lunatic fringe if you will, that think many forms of legal hunting "degrade the heritage of American hunting." To their way of thinking, in-line muzzleloaders degrade our reputation. They consider scopes on same, treestands, compound bows, crossbows, deer drives, women afield, ad nauseam, as unethical methodologies. I've heard some real doozies out there and don't know whether to laugh or cry, they are so divisive and unsophisticated. I pray they become educated.

Do you personally prefer to hunt in enclosures or in the wild?

I prefer to hunt, period, and shall more and more each year everyplace I possibly can. I am a hunter.

Does the ready availability, for a price, of "monster bucks" in high fences affect the experience of hunting in the wild for those who cannot pay, or would not, hunt a high fence preserve?

Does the "ready availability" of monster bucks on open ground in Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Texas, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Washington, or wherever they clearly flourish, change the dynamic of the overall "real" hunting experience? Of course not. Does hiring a guide in Alaska to hunt the mighty grizzly bear affect the experience? It is simply how it is, and I cannot imagine finding fault with any of it. Supply and demand, free choice, private property rights, good old American capitalism and entrepreneurialism are beautiful things.

Is high fence hunting in places like Idaho, or Colorado, where there are lots of public hunting opportunities, inappropriate? What about if the high fences block wild big game migration corridors or where domestic big game pose a disease threat to wild game herds?

Private property rights, supply and demand, freedom of choice, sustained yield and individual preference are the guiding forces in the America where I come from. Everybody knows that CWD & bovine TB are a direct result of our all-knowing government bureaucrats messing things up way back in 1967 and beyond. No believable evidence has ever been produced linking these diseases to fences.

Why do you or people that you know choose to hunt enclosed big game animals, rather than hunting in the wild? Is there a difference? In perception? in reality? (I know that you do hunt in the wild a great deal).

I gotta tell ya, your questions are loaded with assumptions and ignorant bias, almost as if you represented ABC news and its hippie dope smoking antihunting "journalists." That is quite a letdown coming from what was once a highly respected American hunting family magazine. I guide and outfit and hunt with 100s of great American hunters each fall with my Sunrize Safaris operation, and I am absolutely confident when I share with you that my hunters hunt every imaginable legal hunting we can find. We truly love it all.

I know that hunters need to stand together in the face of the anti-hunting forces. But I also see that those anti-hunting forces are given a great deal of fuel by pointing to "canned hunting" as a reason to attacks us. Do high fence operations create a public perception that hunting is just about killing, not about the experience of hunting and the conservation of wild game and wild places?

With all due respect, you don't know anyone who connects with a more or wider cross section of America in a public forum than I do each year. With my dedication to take the battle to the enemies' own trenches, I've conducted literally thousands of media interviews annually for more than 40 years; talkradio, newsradio, rock, sports, humor, everything from the BBC, Larry King and Rush Limbaugh to Howard Stern and Bob and Tom, cooking wildgame with Dana Carvey and John Ritter on Conan O'Brian and David
Letterman. In these unprecedented mass media arenas the dialog and communication has been over-the-top positive in every instance because I don't back down nor compromise my absolutist stand on hunting, fishing, trapping and the 2nd Amendment. The antis are clearly a lunatic fringe that represent the laughing stock to ma & pa America. They are out to ban all hunting, and to be gullible and unsophisticated enough to think that giving up or joining them in condemning any single hunting methodology is pathetically out of touch. I implore you to ignore them. I consider the Troy Gentry/Cubby the Bear shooting incident an anomaly, but anti-hunters will love it. Does it indicate that somewhere, high fence hunting needs to develop some standards? The embarrassing Gentry incident is remembered by no one, except Troy. I read nearly all the reports back when it happened. Not only were "fences" not mentioned, the entire incident didn't even quality as a blip on the radar. A big zero.

Is there a high fence hunting experience that you personally would feel is objectionable? A place too small? Animals too tame? Where do we draw the lines? One of my best interviews concerns the "meeting place between livestock and hunting." Any thoughts on this?

Personally objectionable, yes. Too small -- of course. Too tame -- of course. Again, I repeat, though the word "tame" has never come into play, the calmest animals I have ever hunted were free ranging whitetails in Illinois where there was near zero hunting pressure. Would I do that again? Hell yeah!

Do you feel that the many high fence operations in existence now, and the growing numbers of them, represent a "privatization" of the hunting experience, as in Europe, and does that pose a threat to the "public resource" idea of wild big game that is a cornerstone of the unique American model of wildlife restoration and conservation?

Nope. All private hunting in America whether fenced or nonfenced is controlled by private landowners. America is blessed with vast public grounds, and I do wish the hunting industry and community would put forth the proper effort to open up every square inch of majestic big game country currently owned by "we the people" instead of the vulgar anti-American corruption currently in place where soulless bureaucrats
continue to charge American tax payers to hire killers of our game where we are not allowed to utilize it properly. That should be Job One for F&S and every sporting concern in America right now.

Is this controversy over high fence hunting operations going to have a negative effect on American hunting? Will more high fence operations make hunting in the wild less attractive? Make conservation of wild lands and habitat seem less important? Will it become the norm (it seems far more accepted now than it used to be)? What are the implications of that?

No. The powerful heart of the American hunter and adventurer is alive and well in this great land. Recruitment of this instinct in our young people is the most important guarantee for the future of conservation and the environment. My own Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids and its amazing volunteers have been doing just that for 20-plus years. SCI, NRA, NWTF, RMEF, DU, Delta Waterfowl, FNAWS, 4H, FFA, National Archery in Schools programs, NSSF, NFAA, and every sporting org out there are upgrading their mentorship programs and finally reaching out to more and more young Americans outside our sporting community. It is thrilling to note that my various TV productions, Surviving Nugent, Wanted Ted Or Alive, SuperGroup, and Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild have all achieved top ratings on not only OLN, CMT, and The Outdoor Channel, but wonderfully top-rated on the anti's networks of VH1 and MTV, every show celebrating, defending my gungho hunting, fishing,trapping, shooting lifestyle.

382 Posts
I Love It!!!

GO GETT'EM TED!! I've hunted both and Hunting is awesome either way, I love his comments!!! Hunting Rocks and the adrenile rush too!! thanks for posting that article....

321 Posts
Ted Rocks

Many years ago my son and I got to talk to Ted,at the first Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo.
He was sitting behind the stage,on hay bales.
Ted was cool to talk to,just like talking to a old friend.
We just happen by,and there he was.
Just like everyone would have done ,we talked about hunting.
He's not putting on some kind of act,he's true to what he says.

477 Posts
I've hunted both as well. It seems the most awesome were out west in west texas/new mexico for pronghorn and mule deer. Hunting whitetails in the hill country is really a blast on low-fenced ranches using feeders/blinds. Exotics on high-fenced ranches(300-600 acres) left something to-be-desired for myself. I think it was seeing the high perimeter fence that made me feel unfullfilled on those hunts. Might have felt different on 5000 high-fenced acres. Don't know, since I haven't tried that. Anyway, that is my take on the issue. To each his own! Its your time and money, spend it the way you want. I will! Rube-out!

1,218 Posts
Good ole Ted. I bet the antis do have to scratch there head every now and then with Ted's voluminous vocabulary.

My answer is that same as Ted's. I have hunted in a 1200 acre high fenced ranch, that everything was spooky. Then I have also hunted at a low fenced ranch where I had 4 WT deer standing within 15 yards of me not flench when my son shot at a hog. Go figure?!?!

As with everything...Policeman, politicians, teachers and preachers. There will be a few immoral folks that put a bad light on high fenced ranches. I would agree that hunting small high fenced ranches, sure appears to be a 'canned' hunt, and would not do it myself.

2,059 Posts
I've hunted high fence, low fence, and no fence, public lands and private, a gazillion acres to as few as my backyard, when I'm hunting I'm only thinking about the beauty of each animal, my surroundings that God has made, I completely forget where I'm at, Ted summed it up!

193 Posts
I've hunted high fence once and it was 10,000 acres.This was not a pay hunt but a personal invite and it was interesting to say the least. Rules of the management of this land were impressive...What you can, and better not shoot, where strickfully instructed to you twice a day..You would see deer that would make your heart skip a beat or loose a breath, as well as those that were marginal or would not make the cut. And carefully threw your optics you had to age and score the animal. If it was questionable to the rule, you had better take a photo and pass at that moment to persue managements approval.. Of coarse you may want to tell him and only him where you saw this deer. Then persue. Safety, edjucation, rules, discipline, patients, and ethics are all thing that good hunters must apply regardless. (correct?) I personally found that this paticular hunt heightend and enhanced almost all of these traits. The saying: that the best time to shoot a big buck is when you see him. Well thats true in most part depending on all circumstances involved. After seeing 3 uh oh's hanging on the skinning rack I didn't wanna
add to the controversy of fines being applied for me and my buddies sake.
So I found a buck the second morning that was a goodun!! He didn't give me a shot and didn't come to corn in the light either. So I stayed with him. Same stand rain or shine (fog as well). I saw him breifly at dark the 3rd evening. Just long enough to make me shake like nervous wreck. The 4th and final morning we were leaving at noon and had a 9:30 a.m. cut off time hunt. I had a build up of deer with light fog 30 minutes before shoot time. I spotted my deer walking threw a breif opening with binoculars and the light of moon on a rock flat. I sat there freaking out for 40 minutes spot checking every so often
with my hands shaking so bad. At shoot time I had him and three other cods
behind the brush taking turns poking in and out the circling back threw the brush.They finally started parting ways and then I really started freaking out.
Which one him, where'd he go. ---- I've lost him. He stepped out turned broad side, VERIFIED HIM!!!! Some how I quit shaking from the time I put the binoculars down and raised my gun. 145 yards down the ridge steady as all,
I squeezed off a good shot and he jumped up on impact, then on all fours he walked down a small drop like nothin ever happend straight into the brush 20yds. and dissapeared. I was a little confused after the shot the other 3 cods I mentioned broke and started running amuck crisscrossing each other
confusing my issue. Man my eyeballs where wearing out. Everything cleared
out but one ten point about 24" wide.As I let 10 minutes go by I came off the stand and found my mark of last seen, when to go find him. I looked for 15 minutes finding no blood at all. 3rd try I looked up at the blind found my mark
when in a little more to the left and he was right there hadn't gone any further just as if he had sat down to lay up. His head being held up by the brush looking to be still alive. Poked him and his head fell right down. I grabbed that rack smiling and talking all good about myself and ----. I pulled my cell phone out and called my son before he left for school and told him I got my deer. He knew which one. We talked everyday and would ask me did you see any deer daddy? He didn't fully understand how dad could see so many deer everyday but yet everyday dad hadn't shot one. I kept telling him I was waiting for that one deer I saw tuesday, that was the only one I was interested in. I then called my buddy who invited me. He said, I heard you shoot what did you get. With a concerned voice I said your just gonna have to take a look yourself. He says What do mean? Is your buck? I said your just gonna have to see if its gonna be allright back at the camp.....Man he drove over there without waisting any time. I stood at the blind with my stuff with my back to him leaning on the ladder. He says man whats wrong? Where's the ---- DEER!!! I frowned and pointed down the ridge..I said man your just gonna have to take a look for yourself John, I hope everythings gonna be OK. Well come on get your S---. LOOK he asked, is it a good deer? Are YOU happy with it. I just shruged my shoulders. I walked him around for about 5 minutes
just to torture him a little more, then walked right over it. That 240lb. man almost broke my 140lb. back bear hugging me.
Met the criteria, the time of my life, and shot my personal best with a challenge I had never taken before in twenty five years of hunting. And kept
my promise to never pay more than a permit or liscence fee to shoot a deer.
All that within the High Fence.

Hunting Machine!
5,833 Posts
I think Ted showed alot of patience with this interview!
We in the Hill Country are High fenced and it is a tough hunt all the time --takeing the amout of cover and savy of game etc. you better be on Your game or go home without!

It is alot of management to keep any place thriving with healthy good game.

Go Ted!

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