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Rock 'n roll fans know Ted Nugent as 'The...

By
JOE DiGIOVANNI

MILWAUKEE -- Rock 'n roll fans know Ted Nugent as 'The Motor City Madman' but he'd prefer to be called 'The Whackmaster,' a term conjured up by his father to describe an expert bow hunter.

As the Motor City Madman, the wild-haired guitar strangler, Nugent is back with a new band, Damn Yankees, which includes Tommy Shaw of the defunct Styx and Jack Blades of Nightranger.

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'It was a labor of love all through '89 in and around the hunting season,' Nugent said. 'We were writing some songs and playing. I said, 'Wait a minute. This stuff kicks my ass and God knows I need more of that.''

As The Whackmaster, the stealthy hunter stalking the Michigan woods with bow and arrow, he's about to come out with his own line of bow hunting gear.

The Whackmaster line will be gray and black striped with a curved bow. A hunter also can get a Whackmaster arrows and other equipment, as well as Whackwear clothing and boots.

'It's my life,' Nugent said of his hunting while in Milwaukee recently for a sports show. 'It's been a source of recharging my batteries my entire life. It's kind of like a Zen thing.'

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In Nugent's world there are two types of people. There are 'whackers' -- those who hunt -- and there are 'gomers' -- people unaware about hunting or morally against the sport.

'The gomers who don't like hunting lie,' said Nugent. 'Controlled hunting is preserving the game in America and around the world.'

The rock star, who is married with three kids, spends months each year hunting on his 1,100-acre ranch in Michigan when not touring or cutting records.

'I've never bought any meat in the Nugent house,' he said. 'We only eat what I kill. Of course, the sheep farmer down the street is getting angry because we like lamb. No, that's a joke.'

In addition to hunting in the United States, Nugent manages 40,000 acres in South Africa where he hunts regularly. He sponsors three 10-day hunts a year in Africa, costing $275 a day for each person.

He has shot numerous game in Africa, including two cape buffalo. But his biggest prize came two years ago when he bagged a record 650-pound black bear in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

'I thought it was a Toyota with hair,' he said. 'It was huge.'

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Nugent's children also have become avid hunters, which he believes has kept them away from trouble.

'When we are hunting, the conversation just flows,' said Nugent, 41. 'I don't think there's another spot on earth where people will have a more open relationship than when you're in the wild.'

He also encourages other children to hunt and was cited in a resolution by the Michigan Legislature recently as being a good role model for kids.

'Increasingly, we need to find something for young people to do in life and battle this lie called peer pressure,' he said.

'I've never smoked a joint and I've never done drugs,' he said. 'Other rock stars were promoting peace while doing drugs and ended up choking to death on their vomit. I was out chasing short skirts and whacking things.'

Nugent's music sometimes reflects his love for hunting. Last year, he had a hit song, 'Fred Bear,' honoring the man of the same name who brought bow hunting into prominence.

Nugent met the late Bear in the 1960s and hunted with him in the '70s.

'Fred Bear was absolutely awe inspiring,' he said. 'The guy was magnificent -- an uncanny hunter and a gentleman.'

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