provided by John Phillips
Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, the vice president of Mossy Oak in West Point, Mississippi, has been fortunate enough to hunt turkeys with many famous and infamous people across the nation. Often, Cuz is the person who scouts, calls, and records during the hunt. Mossy Oak asked Cuz to tell us about some of his most memorable hunts ever.
Ted Nugent is the real deal. I’ve been fortunate enough to hunt with rock star Ted Nugent several times. Just about everyone in the hunting community knows who he is. What many people may not know is that he’s a strong proponent of the Second Amendment – the right to keep and bear arms. Not only is he also a proponent for concealed carry for self-defense, but he also believes in hunting and eating the game he takes.
One year, when I was doing some turkey hunting near Ted’s home in Texas (he also has a house in Michigan), I invited him to hunt and film a video with me. Before this hunt, I never knew just how good a hunter and great shot Ted was. But I soon found out. At about 2 p.m. one day, we decided to start hunting turkeys. We realized that hunting around that time in Texas wasn’t usually very productive, but we didn’t have anything else to do. Ted liked hunting as much as I did, so he didn’t think that prospecting for turkeys was too bad of an idea.
Ted had a shotgun but wasn’t wearing a turkey vest. Another videographer was with him. After finding a good spot where there were numbers of small oak trees that almost created a thicket, we set-up to try and call a turkey. I said, “Let’s just sit here for about 30 minutes, while I call, and we’ll see what happens.”
Since the wind wasn’t blowing, I knew my turkey call would travel a long way. I also hoped that if a turkey did hear my call, he might come toward us, and Ted would be able to get a shot. I set up my camera about 20 yards behind Ted and his videographer and was facing due east, while yelping loudly on a tube call. After a few minutes, Ted was moving over to my right, and I noticed a huge wild hog coming toward us. I couldn’t help but wonder if Ted would be able to take a shot. Without moving my head, I suddenly spotted a red dot on that hog’s head. Before I knew it, I heard a, “Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!”
The pattern that those bullets left on that hog’s head was about as tight as your fist. I looked back at Ted, and he was holding a 9mm pistol. I didn’t even know that he was carrying one. I’d been with him for most of the day, and all I’d ever seen was a shotgun. I sure didn’t see him pull his pistol from his side, so the only other place it could’ve possibly been was in an ankle holster. With the hog 25 yards away, Ted shot so quickly and accurately that the hog went down in the same tracks where he’d been standing.
I thought to myself, “Holy cow! Ted’s really good with that pistol, and I didn’t even know he had one!”
We went ahead and field dressed the hog and hung it up, so predators wouldn’t get it. After that, we called more turkeys. Then about an hour before dark, we heard a gobble. The tom had a fairly clear lane to come straight to us, but instead of taking that path, he would strut, stand and then drift off to the right and into some tall sawgrass. I don’t know why that turkey did that, because usually most Rio Grande turkeys come straight to the call.
As I watched Ted, he moved as stealthy as any turkey hunter I’d ever seen. Soon enough, the gobbler stepped out and was about 45 yards from Ted. After Ted shot a 20-gauge with a turkey choke, the bird crumbled where he stood. He didn’t flop, and he didn’t move, he was stone cold dead.
I never realized how good of a hunter Ted was until that day. Most people, like me, think of Ted as a guitar-playing rock-and-roll singer. But I learned that day that Ted Nugent was the stealthiest turkey hunter I’d ever seen. And, when he shot that wild hog, I was blown away with his shooting skills. Ted was one of the best woodsmen I’d ever hunted with, and I’ll never forget how much fun I had hunting and calling a turkey for him.