My absolute favorite hunting is treestand time with my bow and arrow.
This style of bowhunting is certainly the most universally used, and
conclusively proven to be the most effective in bagging big game. Whether
strategizing a killer ambush site where trails converge from bedding to
agriculture feed grounds or to water, or maybe watching vigil over some
scattered grain or commercial food attractant, or a natural or man-made scrape,
these lofty perches provide a wonderful bird's-eye view of always spectacular
wild ground that cleanses the soul.
The sights, sounds and smells of these wild places remain the ultimate
attractant to this old bowhunter, but it is the elevated view that always
brings the most sightings of all sorts of critters that turns my crank the
hardest. I love watching everything from my elevated vantage position, and am
forever turned on by the simple sightings of songbirds, non-game animals, and
ultimately critters for which the season is on.
It is from treestands that I have bow bagged grouse, woodcock, quail, dove,
rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, gophers, groundhogs, coons, possums, skunks,
badger, armadillos, muskrats, mink, bobcat, coyote, red and gray fox, feral
dogs and cats, snakes, turkey, deer, elk, bear, buffalo -- probably 40-plus
species of African and exotic big game from around the world, and every
encounter and every kill has been phenomenally exciting. I can't wait for more.
The Lure Of Limbrats
Since I was a little boy with my longbow and cedar arrows, the ubiquitous limbrat has always lured me into the woods. Fox squirrels,
reds, blacks, and grays, have provided me with the most launched arrows and the
ultimate lessons in archery marksmanship. You either aim small, miss small or
no squirrel fricassee for you.
I remember shooting squirrels out of big, old oak, hickory, elm, and catalpa
trees in the neighborhood, and no one ever complained. With only a very few
arrows to my name, I did everything in my power to never lose or break my
precious ammo supply, but shooting at such small, elusive targets was very
challenging on all counts. In those days, we used steel blunts mostly on small
game, so if you would miss the squirrel, at least the arrow wouldn't stick way
up there. If you missed clean and the arrow didn't strike the tree, we learned
to calculate the arc and range of our projectiles and do whatever we needed to
do to find that valuable arrow. And we did.
On those occasions that we would break an arrow, as long as it was still at
least 15 or so inches long, we would whittle it to a point with our always
handy dandy Boy Scout pocket knife, and just keep on shooting. With these now
sharpened arrows, occasionally we found ourselves climbing like monkeys way up
into the towering limbs to retrieve our precious shafts. But it was worth it,
for we were in love with the mystical flight of the arrow, and quite honestly,
this little Detroit
whippersnapper simply could not get enough of it.
Now, the old WhackMaster doesn't qualify any
longer as a whippersnapper I suppose (though others would argue), but those
pesky little russet balls of bushytailed fun still call my name throughout the
year. But nowadays, my archery gear is a little different. Sure, the compound
bow is a different animal in many ways, but I still have to practice like mad,
I still have to employ every bit of stealth and archery discipline as any
longbow or recurve shooter does, and ultimately I
have to aim small and miss small. Bowhunting is bowhunting. Know that.
One thing that drives this old squirrel hunter nuts is the occasion when a
big, fat, corn stealing limbrat tempts me hour after
hour when I am deer hunting, knowing that if a shooter deer is nearby, no
matter how silent my bow might be, a shot at a squirrel could very well alert
an incoming deer to avoid my ambush. I believe that is one reason I have this
little pent up vengeance for squirrels with my bow and arrow. They so tease me
so often that I just have to whack them whenever I can.
Hunts Squirrels To And From Stand
One of my favorite things about my morning and afternoon bowhunting is the walk
out in the morning and the walk to the stand in the afternoon. These are my
squirrel bowhunting times and I often bag a bonus rodent or two for the grill.
I always have one or two arrows fitted with Judo heads for small game, and
on this particular morning, I wish I had more. I had arrowed a pretty, fat doe,
and was walking back to my 4-wheeler, eyes scanning for little critters to
shoot. I had barely left my treestand when a rusty red squirrel actually
scampered toward me. Standing in a grove of pine trees, my camo
worked perfectly as the unsuspecting squirrel hopped within 20 feet of me. I
drew back my already nocked arrow and let him have it square in the noggin for an instant kill. I felt like I had just shot a trophy
elk I was so happy!
With my little prize in my hand I continued toward my ATV when another fatty
showed up at the base of a hickory tree. At 20 yards, he worked hard on a nut
while I settled my pin on his ear and thwacked bushytail
No. 2 in less than five minutes. I was thrilled!
Next thing I knew, I heard the clattering of sharp claws on oak bark as two
reds chased around and around in a territorial dispute. Well I am here to tell
you, my next two shots with two bloody Judo tipped arrows again found their mark,
in rather rapid succession I might add, to bring my rodent bag to four for the
To say I was elated doesn't even come close to my level of happiness.
Unending flashes of a smiling young Nuge whizzed past
my mind's eye, and I felt rejuvenated and innocent again.
I cleaned and hung my pretty doe, then cleaned and hung my four squirrels,
surely the happiest bowhunter alive in the world on a glorious fall hunting
season day in America.
And I didn't even lose any arrows!
Communicate daily with Ted Nugent on his tednugent.com TalkBack. Celebrate
squirrel hunting and unlimited American Dream fun with Uncle Ted at his electro
Ted Nugent is best known for his musical career where the "Motor City Madman" recorded 29 albums between 1967-1997, selling over 30 million copies. Ted has hunted for over 40 years and will share his love of the sport in this column. "The future of the shooting sports in this country is in the hands of tomorrow's outdoorsmen and women," Ted says. "The youth of America must be educated in the wholesome and valued world of hunting and conservation ... because rock 'n roll plays such a pivotal role in a young person's life, I will share my wonderful lifestyle and experience with them." Ted writes two columns a month for sportsmansguide.com.