A survey of college students was taken,
asking to list the top five things they associate with the word
“hunter.” The top two responses were alcohol and
orange.

Janna Hutz

What does this say about the average hunter? An image of a
flamboyant, drunken yahoo embossed into their brain.

Only 10 percent of the U.S. population hunts. Inversely, only 10
percent are anti-hunters. This leaves 80 percent of U.S. citizens
who are neutral on the subject of hunting — a group whose
easily swayed minds are being bombarded with these damaging images
of hunters.

In order to combat this negative perception, the Ted Nugent Kamp
for Kids at the Sleeper State Park in Caseville, Michigan teaches
young hunters to present the proper image for the public eye. Many
people see the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent, as a maniacal rock
‘n’ roll guru and animal slaughterer, but they
don’t know the half of it. Fifteen years ago, the guitar
legend founded his camp to instill life-long morals into the minds
of young children.

The main premise of the camp is to start the kids on the right
path in life, as well as in the sport of hunting. The campers have
a strict agenda, loaded with classes teaching important skills and
subjects such as firearm safety, the effects of drugs and alcohol,
boating safety and first aid. At 7 a.m. the kids line up at the
flag pole for the Pledge of Allegiance. Promptly after adjourning
from breakfast, classes begin and lessons are learned.

Along with teaching morals and safety, there is an underlying
anti-drug and alcohol message inherent in the camp. In one class,
the kids wear goggles that simulate the body’s reaction after
consuming three alcoholic drinks and walk through an obstacle
course. The results are most definitely memorable. Nugent, a strong
supporter of the anti-drug campaign DARE, spoke strongly on the
topic during his speech to the campers.

Throughout the camp, the instructors and counselors alike
attempt to mold their minds into the shape of a solid and
respecting citizen before their departure of the camp. With
stronger morals and a more informed outlook on the world, the camp
hopes to send them off with their parents in dreams, that they will
make a difference in the world, help guide along their friends and
set them all on the right path through life.

Regardless of how much these campers learn about hunting or
life, camp director Chuck Buzzy, reminds the kids upon their
arrival of the true purpose of the camp. “All you should
leave are your footprints, and all you should take away are
memories.”

 

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