THINK DEER                                                                                           by Ted Nugent

You can’t really close your eyes and read this, so instead, concentrate as you read and pump images of deer into your brain. Envision all those stunning beasts you have been so blessed to encounter over so many hunting seasons, and burn that beautiful picture deep into your cranium. Imprint it on your psyche, make it an actual element of your being. Now, doesn’t that feel good.

I am typing this little ditty in my Ranch King deer blind on a cold December afternoon, and I have eight whitetails in front of me right now, all within twenty yards. I sit spellbound.

An old matriarch doe is crazy alert, two doe fawns and a very handsome button buck with huge pronounced nubbins could care less as they nibble away. There is a yearling doe, a yearling three point buck, and a fat stud of a three year old eight point beast. They own me.

My heart is racing rather predictably, and I only keep typing because I am trying to convince myself to not shoot the handsome eight pointer.

Steady Uncle Ted. Steady as she goes.

For all the right reasons, I should kill that old doe as part of my Texas Parks and Wildlife Managed Land Deer Permit plan. We figure eight more does gotta go off our ground, and she’s an old gal that would be perfect to take out to better the herd. We shall see.

I really love hunting, ambushing and killing deer, love watching and videoing them, love being a natural part of their world, love grilling and eating them, really love sharing their sacred flesh with the regional Hunters for the Hungry program and the families of the US Military, but what turns me on the most is the intelligent, stewardship system by which we manage deer and all wild game for healthy, thriving populations and properly balanced conditions. By doing so, I can forever enjoy and celebrate all those other ways that I love deer.

I just looked up again from my laptop, and now there are ten deer. Another shooter doe and a scrawny spike horn buck arrived, and they are all bulking up on feed in the cold weather. They constantly look around and flinch at every bird, every breeze, and for many unknown reasons. What an amazing creature. I would propose that for millions and millions of us, our lives would be dramatically less enjoyable without deer. I know it has always been a powerful force of joy, inspiration and awe for me and my family.

The two big does just stood up on hind legs and went into that flurry of cartwheeling punches with their front hooves. That is some violent behavior right there, and any one of those cloven hooved blows could kill you outright. I am sure that while we are all conveniently tucked away in our cushy homes throughout the year, whitetail deer are knocking the living bejesus out of each other, including killing each other at a much higher rate that anyone really understands.

The button buck is way out of his league haranguing the old girl, as the rut is up and down for the last couple of months. I am real tempted to kill the puny spike and forkhorn, but at only one and a half years of age, their first set of antlers in no way provides a meaningful indicator of their genetic potential. Have you ever noticed that once we decide to not shoot a particular animal, that they pose perfectly broadside with their leg forward for the longest periods of time?

I just gulped a deep breath of freezing air, for a dynamo buckaroo just arrived on scene to take any deer hunter’s breath away. This majestic stag has ten perfectly defined points on his tall, wide, sweeping rack, and represents the kind of monster buck I would never have dreamed of coming in contact with growing up in the Midwest deer woods.

This incredible beast has no idea that a blood thirsty venison addict is only fifteen yards away in this dark blind, with a bow and arrow and razor sharp broadhead and the tags to go with them.

He noses the does and the other bucks give him lots of room, and with all the commotion, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to get to full draw on such a great deer. But I just gaze, video it all and type away, for though this buck’s antlers are very impressive and highly desirable, I can tell by his trim neck, brisket and body that he is only two and a half years old, the very definition of a quality deer management specimen to let walk.

I am so proud of myself. I am learning, and his presence literally increases my excitement just knowing such quality bucks are around. It wasn’t that many years ago that I would have killed him in an instant, but like so many other hunters these days, I know I can get all the venison I need by killing the right deer and letting the right deer grow to their potential.

Shooting light is gone now, all the deer have moved off, so I put away my vidcam, attach my quiver back on my bow and get ready to shut down my laptop, absolutely thrilled beyond words that I am a deer hunter. I head home with my soul filled with allthings deer.

Tomorrow in another day, and tomorrow is another deer. I will now fill my belly with some scrumptious backstraps and keep the spirit of the deer alive in everything I do.