Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nugent and Notes

There are times when the book is not worth the candle. The Ted Nugent game violation story is one of those times. As I thought about publishing a story in The Pines Review, my small literary journal, about Nugent’s transgression I sought advice from a number of people, including members of the Board of Directors of the NRA, members of various outdoor writer organizations, friends whose opinions I value, and so forth. The comments and suggestions were varied and they ranged from “burn the SOB,” to “leave him alone because he paid the fine.”

I also did some reading. I read accounts of other, much more famous, and a lot of not-so-famous who did similar things. Not all of them were “burned” but a few were—including a friend of mine from the Deep South. I also sought advice in the writings of a couple of philosophers and what I finally arrived at is that Ted Nugent is not worth the trouble, i.e. the book is not worth the candle.

Our candle is the public support of hunting, fishing, the Second Amendment, and of course the book is the publication of the missteps of someone who has a very loud voice, and frequently makes an ass out of himself with his outrageous commentary. But, buried in all of the bravado and BS that pours from Ted Nugent is more than a kernel of truth about the value of hunting helping young people have a better respect for nature and to extrapolate from that, the workings of our society (with its problems). I don’t know exactly how many young people Nugent reaches, but I do know he does reach a significant number and in reaching them if they learn the value of family, nature and develop a spiritual relationship with nature, well, I’m not willing to wreck that by catering to the antis who, of course, will relish any wrong done by the more visible members of our community. I don’t want to burn that candle. But, if Mr. Nugent pulls another stupid stunt like he did in California then the gloves will come off and I would be happy to lead the pack of dogs that tear after him.


Simple, once shame on you (Nugent) twice, shame on me (us). So now Ted is on the skyline and he’s drawn two targets on himself. One target is for the antis and the other is for his brethren in the community of hunters. Let’s really believe that in time he’ll manage to erase both of those targets.


I am blessed with having a lot of friends and a few of them are truly “best” friends. That tiny group of people includes Chas Clifton (author of natureblog) and now, for the past three years, Chas has made the long drive to North Dakota to hunt sharptail grouse with me. This year I added a new name to my list of friends, Holly Heyser, who flew out here to join us on the hunt. You can read a wonderful account of the hunt on Holly’s blog. I wish I had been able to show the two of them more birds because I know they are here. I don’t always find them but there have been days when I’ve managed to flush half-dozen coveys in a single morning. It happens, just not this time. But having the two of them around for the long weekend was wonderful. We had great conversations, my wife Michelle, fixed great meals after each day’s hunting and best of all Holly got to meet Cookie and learn that I wasn’t making anything up about what a great dog Cookie is. Of course, Holly also fell for my bad dog, Rosie, which I’ll never understand.
Read Holly’s blog on the hunting weekend. It’s a good read.

It is now time for me to get back to work on the next issue of the Review. I’m running a little behind schedule so I’ve got to get back on it. Almost finished.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dennis Dunns Massive Book Barebow!

Okay, I’ve been busy trying to make my house, yard and whatever, look somewhat presentable to my soon-to-be-here guests. Chas and Holly will be here to hunt birds but Michelle, my wife, would like for me to make things look a little presentable considering that we are in a constant state of remodeling! But, mixed into that task is trying to get the next issue of The Pines Review out. I’ve been held up on a couple of things and one of them has been writing the review of Dennis Dunn’s massive tome Barebow!, his account of his 40 year quest to be the first person in history to complete the North American Grand Slam of big game animals with a bare bow. For those of you who don’t know a bare bow is one that is sans all of the sighting gadgets that are hung on most of today’s hunting bows.
This is a pretty incredible book. First from the size and second from the content but even more so by the scope of the story and finally by the most unlikely looking appearance of Dennis Dunn, because he looks like a nerd! Actually, that isn’t too far off because he has both a BA and an MA in Romance Languages, and his BA is cum laude from Harvard! To complete his quest he climbs mountains, has a face-to-face encounter with a grizzly bear and gets charged by the most unlikely of big game animals. (I’ll let you find that one out for yourself.)
The whole story is pretty remarkable and the book reads extremely well. My review for The Pines Review is much more detailed and covers a lot more ground, sort of like Dunn’s book. But, when I finished writing my review I asked myself another question—is Dennis Dunn setting archery hunting up for a flood of new hunters who attempt to duplicate his feat, or at least take up hunting bare bow? The truth is that every person I have ever met who is a bow hunter (except for one, and he was a national champion archer) needed those sight pins and whatever else they were using. In fact, I tend to think that without those sighting aids that are hanging on those hunting bows most bow hunters would be wounding and losing a lot of game.
Damn few people have the perseverance to truly master instinctive archery and bow hunting today is not instinctive archery—it is hunting with sights and aids all designed to help the hunter but equally important those aids reduce the number of wounded and lost game. I think all but a very few hunters need those sighting aids.
Dennis Dunn is a remarkable man. What he did is an achievement that will always rank at the top of archery hunting history but it is not for every bow hunter. I hope that bow hunters who think they are capable of hunting the way Dunn did give it a lot of long and careful thought before making the attempt. Every animal’s life is too great a prize to squander by wounding them trying to imitate a master. glg

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just some thoughts and notes

As odd as it may seem I have still not reached a decision on whether to write something about Ted’s misadventure or to just let it die. By write something I am referring to my small literary journal, The Pines Review. Perhaps I should just let that dog go to sleep. He’s paid his fine and we’ve had our share of troubles so adding to the pile doesn’t make any sense. The flip side comes from my training as a journalist and years of working as a journalist, both freelance and staff. On that side I am telling myself it is a duty to write on what happened even if my journal is published months after the incident. I’m still thinking about it and will probably think about it for most of the week while I finish this issue.

Other news of note. Our dove season is open and I have not stepped into a field. For some reason my feeble brain was thinking it opened this coming weekend—on the eleventh! Okay, I am stupid but not for much longer. Cookie and I will be making up for lost time starting tomorrow!
Last week I took Cookie into the vet’s office for her annual checkup and shots. She is a dog that always pleases me because she is so sweet and well behaved in public. There was less than a pound’s difference in her weight from her last visit and as always she sat quietly while she got her shots then the vet and her assistant fawned over Cookie, asking if she was ready to go hunting. I cringed because “hunting” is a word that sets Cookie off. This time all she did was begin to wag her tail. Then the vet said “bird” and Cookie was no longer sitting but standing and looking around the sterile room as if to ask “how could there be a bird in here?” I was pleased because Cookie pleased others.
In another week the sharptail season opens and the two of us will be beating the grass country for the birds. Over the years Cookie and I have had great times together hunting sharptail. I don’t know if it is because it is the first of the upland bird seasons and Cookie is working off all the stored up energy or just her joy of life, but she plows through the grass with a gusto that I truly love to watch. I suppose that in some ways the bird hunting season is so special because I’ve had wonderful dogs and many of my best memories are of the season. I’m looking forward to the weekend of the 18th and 19th when one of my best friends, and a new friend, will be hunting with me. I just hope I can put them in the birds. Well, put them where the birds are, the dogs will do the rest.
I hope everyone is having wonderful early seasons and getting ready for a great autumn. glg