Wisconsin Examiner

Ted Nugent Joins GOP Push for Sandhill Crane Hunt

Republican sponsored legislation would repeal Wisconsin hunting regulations.

By , Wisconsin Examiner - Oct 14th, 2021 01:45 pm
Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Dave Reid.

Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by File pave Reid.

Republican members of the Wisconsin Legislature appeared on Wednesday with the leaders of pro-hunting lobbying group Hunter Nation and its spokesman, musician Ted Nugent, to promote the recent unveiling of their package of 13 bills that aim to expand hunting and fishing in Wisconsin while taking power from the Department of Natural Resources and loosening the state’s gun laws.

At the news conference, in which dozens of people crowded unmasked onto the dais in the Assembly chamber, the speakers lamented the rules and regulations they say are killing off hunting in Wisconsin.

According to various speakers, hunters in Wisconsin and across the country were either an unstoppable political force or humble participants in a hobby being choked to death by Democrats and conservationists. After members of the Legislature took turns explaining what is in some of the bills, Hunter Nation representatives spoke in defense of their efforts to influence environmental policies in the state while occasionally dipping into hard-to-follow ramblings about the spiritual meaning and history of hunting.

“I was born in 1948 when everybody knew the self-evident truth that wildlife is a precious renewable gift that should be managed, with respect, in the asset column, through utility and family hours of recreation, generating value through revenues in participatory activities,” Nugent said in the opening of his remarks. “I’m just a guitar player, but my instinct kicked in early on. And as my dad taught me, the essence of a higher level of awareness as a deer hunter, especially with a bow and arrow, when Roy Case, the great Roy Case in the state of Wisconsin was reintroducing the mystical flight of the arrow, and the demands of archery hunting that tuned us into God’s miraculous stunning creation of renewability. In my home state of Michigan, Fred Bear was doing the same thing. And introducing the incredible challenge, the near impossible challenge of killing a deer with a bow and arrow, and here it is 73 years later in my life, where my dad took his kids hunting, so he didn’t have to hunt for his kids. And now I take my kids and my grandkids hunting, because the stimuli factor, the excitement factor, the challenge of being the very best that you can be, tuning in to your stewardship responsibilities, your conservation, hands-on participation in the natural, renewable season of harvest, so that when you celebrate Thanksgiving, you know where that turkey came from, you know where that venison came from, you know where that trout came from. And I’m here, not representing any Ted Nugent opinions — I’m not that cocky. I’m adequately cocky, but not cocky enough to think that I might have an opinion on God’s renewable creation.”

The Michigan native spent the rest of the news conference giving his opinion on how that creation should be managed in Wisconsin.

“I’m speaking for those millions and millions of American families who pursue this lifestyle of hands-on conservation that literally is God’s work,” he said. “When they’re overregulated, people quit. People don’t participate. We’re going to cleanse the arbitrary, punitive, capricious, overregulation.”

The package of legislation includes bills that would expand where Wisconsinites can carry firearms; force the DNR to remove existing regulations on hunting and fishing and create a season for the hunting of sandhill cranes.

Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) said cranes should be hunted in Wisconsin because the bird is no longer on the endangered species list so it should be managed just like any other waterfowl. Nugent, who also said the birds damage farmers’ crops, had a different reason for wanting to hunt the cranes.

“Are you familiar with the term ribeye?” he said. “They’re ribeyes in the sky.”

Representatives of Hunter Nation — who have spent months coordinating with Republicans to prevent the duly elected Democratic governor of Wisconsin from placing his appointee on the state board that controls wildlife management — said they were offended that hunting is a political issue and surprised the package didn’t have any Democratic co-sponsors.

“I’m actually a Democrat, and as I spoke earlier, I don’t understand when someone brings up the concept of policy or party when we’re talking about hands-on, true conservation efforts,” Keith Mark, one of Hunter Nation’s co-founders, said. “So as a Democrat, I’m offended when people try to make this a political issue. This is a common sense issue. Hunting, fishing, trapping is part of a large set of traditional American values. God, family, country, hunting lifestyle. Are we all on the same page on this?”

“Now … if there are no Democrat legislators up here, shame on them. Because this is not a partisan issue,” the Kansas native added.

While Hunter Nation has been especially active in Wisconsin — including suing the DNR to force a wolf hunt in February — the organization’s CEO, Luke Hilgemann, said it plans to bring similar legislation to other states.

“Wisconsin is the beginning, it is not the end,” Hilgemann said. “We are taking this same type of reform package all across the country, because this lifestyle has been under attack, unlike anything that I’ve seen in my life.”

“Anti-hunting groups, well organized, well funded groups are coming here in the minority and trying to tell Wisconsinites — again, millions of us participate in these sports — that what we do is illegal,” he continued.

Earlier in his remarks Hilgemann said one in five Wisconsinites hunt. Statistics provided by Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu’s office show there are 895,000 hunters among the state’s 5.8 million residents.

‘Ribeyes in the sky’: Ted Nugent appears with Republicans to promote hunting bills was originally published by the Wisconsin Examiner.

8 thoughts on “Ted Nugent Joins GOP Push for Sandhill Crane Hunt”

  1. kaygeeret says:

    I am in favor of hunting, but most of these these proposals are jawdroppinly stupid.

    Less oversight means not just overhunting of many species but an increase in all the non sporting ways folks get their ‘kicks’ shooting animals for trophies. For example – ‘shining’ deer or setting out food stations while waiting on the comfort of you heated porch for the animals to show up.

    Very high tech weapons which essentially do the hunting and all you have to do it release an arrow or pull the trigger in the general direction of the animal.

    Let’s destroy some animals shall we – and make it as easy as possible.

  2. GodzillakingMKE says:

    So you ignore Mike Croot of Devil Radio getting interrupted twice by this Keith idiot, while he asks Nugent the questions, is a journalistic error.

    Bad reporting.

  3. Duane says:

    I didn’t know that Kris Kobach was on the “Hunter Nation” Board of Directors. It states on the Hunter Nation website that “Kris Kobach is an avid Hunter and a great husband and father”. I was only aware of his love of politics and his involvement with controversial electoral and immigration policies. But he also loves hunting!

  4. tornado75 says:

    obviously the sandhill crane is good eatin. it’s not as beautiful as other cranes, so also a good reason to shoot it. love those republicans who look out for the hunters and not the rest of us.

  5. Mingus says:

    I don’t think it will be too long before some of these lunatics promote hunting the bald eagle. The irony would be that there would be some constituency in the conservative movement who would think that this is a good idea whose time has come.

  6. gerrybroderick says:

    The definition of hunting as a “sport” will remain open to question until the hunted can shoot back.

  7. NieWiederKrieg says:

    A few years ago, Wisconsin Republicans tried to pass a law, making it legal to shoot cats. They said the cats had to be killed because they’re killing all the birds. Then the Republicans turned around and passed a law making it legal to kill mourning doves.

    Republican legislators made it legal to hunt in County Parks and wildlife sanctuaries….

    But I’ll never forget this cruel news article of animal cruelty from deep inside Republican controlled central Wisconsin…

    Waupaca – Jan. 12, 2009 – State wildlife officials say a group of snowmobilers ran over five deer, killing four of them and severely injuring a fifth in what a warden calls a senseless act of cruelty.

    Department of Natural Resources warden Ted Dremel said Monday no arrests have been made in the incident that occurred early Saturday morning about five miles south of Waupaca.

    Dremel believes three or four snowmobiles were involved in what amounted to a roundup of deer in a farm field. Dremel says one deer was left tied to a tree and choked itself to death. Another deer had broken legs and was euthanized.

    Dremel says five miles of snowmobile trails in area have been closed due to the carnage. Some snowmobile clubs have offered $4,000 in rewards for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.


  8. ringo muldano says:

    remember when Joel Kleefisch wanted a season for Sandhill cranes? He called it “the rib eye” in the sky. It looks that he’s had surgery to help him lose the flab that girdled his waist, but yea… have another pork chop fatboy.

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