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Rocker Ted Nugent addresses legislative hearing

April 06, 2013 at 07:05 PM

The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Passions soared. Voices were raised. Somebody even talked about stripping down to a loin cloth.

And that was before the crowd heard from Ted Nugent.

Standing before the Texas House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism on Wednesday, the rocker best known for 1970s hits such as "Cat Scratch Fever" provided the crescendo to a debate on hunting deer raised in captivity.

Established nearly a century ago as a conservation measure, deer breeding has become a $650 million business in the state, according to researchers at Texas A&M University. Some ranchers, outfitters and guides have come to rely on breeders to provide animals selected for their outsize antlers.

For hunters, forced to defend the sport's modern role in an increasingly urbanized society, the rules surrounding deer bred in captivity have become central to the contentious concept known as "fair chase."

Under current state law, breeders must release white-tailed deer into the wild at least 10 days before hunting season.

Rep. John Davis, a Houston Republican, offered the committee a proposal that would eventually extend that time to two months. He said shooting deer that have just been transferred from captivity "takes away from the sport."

Acknowledging the divided opinion in the room, Davis, whose family owns a ranch in Menard County, told the committee he had already received an angry call from his Aunt Nancy.

"Then they bring in this 'Cat Scratch Fever' guy," Davis said. "It's all building against me."

Nugent, who lives in McLennan County, waited attentively through several hours of testimony on various aspects of deer hunting.

Advocates of the proposal, including some veterinarians, biologists and ranchers, said captive-bred deer should have more time to get used to living in the wild. Fair hunting aside, they said, the extension would also protect the human food supply by allowing the animals more time to clear their bodies of antibiotics used. At times, the debate veered into notions of deer as public or private property.

One witness talked about her 3-year-old son's fondness for his daddy's hunting stories. Another lectured the committee on the finer points of the antibiotic tetracycline.

At last, Nugent, dressed in a brown sports jacket, blue jeans and a camouflage shirt, with a long ponytail falling out from his matching camouflage hat, stepped to the microphone.

"I'm Ted Nugent," he said. "I'm a guitar player and a deer hunter."

After noting the "passion in this room," he presented himself to the committee as an expert on hunting culture. He said he hunts 300 days a year.

Nugent said during his rise to fame with the Amboy Dukes, he was treated as an outcast for bringing guns and venison jerky on tour. Jimi Hendrix laughed at him.

"Jimi got high, Jimi's dead," he said. "I went hunting, I'm still Ted."

Before he was done, Nugent spoke of spirituality and made reference to an unspecified "scam" that would ban hunting.

"These are the kinds of arguments I didn't expect to hear in Texas," he said. By way of conclusion, he added, "I'm against this bill because it limits my choice."

As the audience applauded, Rep. John Kuempel, a Republican from Seguin, thanked the star witness for making an appearance.

"I can feel," Kuempel said, "a certain kind of fever in this room."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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ted nugent is a hack.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/06 at 09:17 PM

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