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handgun hunting with ted nugent

Handgun Hunting with a Smith & Wesson Model 66 at Rock Legend Ted Nugent’s Sunrize Acres

“Could you hear the Motown rhythm and blues blasting out of the barrel when you pulled the trigger?”

Truth be told, I couldn’t hear much of anything after touching off a .357 Magnum within the confines of an elevated blind. Moreover, I don’t think he could hear anything either—but that’s because of a 60-plus-year career in rock and roll.

What had just transpired was the downing of a four-horned ram at just 17 yards at Sunrize Acres, Ted Nugent’s hunting grounds in Michigan. Making it extra special was that I had pulled it off with a Smith & Wesson Model 66 that used to belong to Uncle Ted and now has a place of honor in one of my gun safes.

sunrize acres
Returning after 17 years, the author couldn’t help but retake the photo he took when he first went to Sunrize in 2006.

My First Handgun Hunt

When the opportunity to hunt again at Sunrize Acres came up after a 17-year personal hiatus, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I would make it my first-ever ram hunt, my first-ever handgun hunt, and I’d do it with one of Ted’s guns.

Positioned in a ground blind before sunrise, I watched the sun come up through the trees and witnessed a group of rams sauntering into the woods off one of the main trails about 75 yards away. If I had been using a rifle, the hunt would have been easy-peasy, done and over before it had begun. I was glad this was a handgun hunt instead.

They hung around but refused to come any closer. The rams had no idea I was there, and no reason to move from their food and shelter.

handgun hunting rams
The group of rams hung out about 75 yards away from the morning blind, and the author watched them quite a bit through his binoculars.

Time to Stalk

After an hour or so, I got tired of them taunting me unknowingly, so I crept out of the blind and tried to sneak up on them through the trees. I moved up to about 50 yards, but they busted me. After lunch, I went after the group again, this time opting to stay mobile with a foot pursuit. I went stalking through the trees, crawling through the grasses, and up and down the hills in the woods of the Sacred Nugent Family Hunting Grounds that Ted started accumulating back in 1970.

No matter how hard I tried, the group of rams always made me. It’s a lot harder to sneak up on a group of animals with multiple sets of eyes darting around looking for danger than it is to sneak up on just one animal. As they headed in a line through the woods, I decided to change tactics yet again.

handgun hunting

A Tactics Change-Up

They continued on their way in the woods and I went back to the road, attempting to move forward and get ahead of them before heading back into the woods, hopefully in front of where it seemed like they were headed.

I got set up in an elevated blind, but wasn’t sure that I had beat the group. I soon found out that I had indeed made it, but only because the rams changed course, passing by me on the road I had just been on at a distance of 100 yards or so. Again, a rifle hunt would have been much easier.

About 15 minutes later, the group came back down the main road and turned down the side path to the blind I was in. Having already ranged my surroundings, I knew where I needed one of the rams to be for me to close the deal.

I slowly drew the Smith & Wesson from my chest rig and was certain that the intro to Stranglehold that came screaming out of the muzzle was going to spook them. Thankfully, the music was all in my head.

Dropping the Hammer

As the group came within range, I settled in on one particular ram, cocked the hammer, and squeezed the trigger. It broke like glass at less than one pound thanks to the action job Ted had done on it years ago. The result was a perfect shot. The four-horned ram ran 5 yards, dropped his head, flipped forward over his horns, and died. The whole thing was over in 10 seconds.

The four-horned sheep, also called a Jacob sheep or a Spanish sheep, has murky origins, but it has been bred in the British Isles for more than 350 years.

The guitar riffs in my brain were instantly replaced by a ringing the likes of which I have never experienced, and I’ve been front-and-center for many a Nugent show over the years!

A Custom Gift

Back at the main camp sitting around a fire, Ted took his old Model 66 from my hands and looked it over, smiling as you do when you’re reunited with a friend you haven’t seen in a few years.

“Ya know, I had so many guns. It’s just not possible to shoot them all, all of the time—believe me, I tried—so I decided to let some of them go,” he said about his 2021 mega-auction that featured cars, guitars, and guns.

The Smith & Wesson Model 66 used during the hunt was purchased during the March 2021 “Ted Nugent Guns, Guitars & Hot Rod Cars” auction.

“Don’t worry,” I said, “I’ll keep the cylinder warm for ya.”

“You damn well better,” Ted said with a grin.

I’m Ted Nugent, And I’m A Hunter       
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1 thought on “A Ram Handgun Hunt With Ted Nugent”

  1. Awesome story and hunt. Congratulations on the ram and owning one of Uncle Ted’s revolvers! What is that boot?

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