Somewhere along the beautiful forested banks of the Tittibawasee River, somewhere in the big deerwoods of Northern Michigan, maybe it was near Grayling, maybe Gaylord, maybe Gladwin in classic Americana deer country, young 10 month old Theodore Anthony Nugent entered the glorious world of deercamp, and my American Dream deerhunting trajectory was written in stone.
Lucky lucky me huh!
Jettison forward at a breakneck pace lightyears into fall 2019, and here I am again, celebrating one of life’s most thrilling experiences, my 71st deercamp!
Those earliest of years were in many ways totally different, but in the most important ways, exactly the same.
Let me explain; before I really got the deerhunting bug, say around the age of 12 or 13, deercamp was an annual short window of opportunity getaway that we all eagerly looked forward to.
Deercamp was a distant destination that entailed much planning and a serious family excursion from our Detroit home far, far away to the Great North.
From the concrete jungle, fast paced Motorcity industrial revolution Arsenal of Democracy cityscape to the soul cleansing primal scream of big timber wilderness was not just a topographical journey, but surely a psychological adventure as well.
I was already addicted to the fascination with wildlife and predatory stalking endeavors I honed each day along the Rouge River critter-grounds right across the street from our Detroit home, but the anticipation to head North into those mystical wildgrounds Up North thrilled me beyond words.
I could write an entire book (and I oughtta!) about the mental gymnastics I would go through before each trip North to deercamp back then, but suffice it to say the mere thought of the possibility of encountering a majestic whitetail deer with my trusty bow and arrow quivered the marrow of my bones.
We could talk about the wonderful aroma of slab bacon frying in the big iron skillet. The delicious smells of hard coffee and slightly burnt toast. There were the immeasurable stimuli of fiery sunrises and hammering of woodpeckers under an eternal sky of wildness.
My goosebumps had goosebumps for crying out loud!
The endless tsunami of sensual stimuli both in the little rustic cabins we rented and certainly in the big woods were a constant source of excitement for me then, and more so to this very day.
Those important things will never change, but for more than 50 years now, my beloved deercamp is actually where I live fulltime.
If that’s not an American deerhunting Dream come true I don’t know what would be!
The first home I purchased way back in 1970 was a little farmhouse and 80 acres in southern Michigan that was by all practical considerations, a fulltime deercamp!
Did I mention oh lucky lucky me!
Now my home ranch in Texas and those original and much expanded grounds in Michigan represent to my way of thinking the ultimate deercamps where I can live the deerhunting life 24/7/365 forever!
Though the universal battlecry of deerhunters everywhere is family, friends and the great outdoors, my deercamps happen to include an army of new friends each season as we have booked and guided hunters from around the country now for more than 40 years.
We have had the great joy of sharing this special experience with families from all fifty states and a few Canadian provinces, and the joys of deercamps everywhere is multiplied exponentially when the camps go longer and include more people.
I can tell you this, deerhunters happen to be the best doggone people in the world!
The aromas are still the same, the laughter is still the same, the nonsense is still the same and certainly the spirit remains the same. The buckpoles are a little heavier these days! We just happen to have more of it all!
It makes perfect sense that Thanksgiving is celebrated in November to coincide with the pragmatic hands-on lifestyle of deerhunting, for how could one not be thankful when we get to actually witness and participate in this stunning, miraculous connection with nature.
May you American deercamps remain wonderous and last forever, and may you celebrate Thanksgiving everyday, in, coming or going into the American deerwoods.
Come join the truth, logic, commonsense deerhunting lifestyle celebration at my Ted Nugent facebook party. It’s like an electronic deercamp! And join us at HunterNation.com.