JIM CREES: Nugent suffers from more than Cat Scratch Fever

An article in the Detroit Free Press this past week caught my eye, and left me scratching my head ...once again.

It seems Michigan’s own Ted Nugent doesn’t appreciate the very successful program being used to attract tourism to this state — the Pure Michigan campaign.

Nugent complained Pure Michigan ads have been produced and distributed by group of people working under the constraints of “liberalism and political correctness.”

His main beef is that hunting, fishing and trapping are supposedly ignored by the Pure Michigan team.

Hunting, fishing, and trapping are, according to Nugent, the state’s single largest tourist attraction. He claims Michigan’s outdoor legacy is ignored because “...some Hash Bash hippie in charge of Michigan’s promotional campaigns is afraid to put a dead salmon, or a dead grouse, or a dead deer on the tourist brochure; but will put paragliding and tulip festivals on that brochure when no one is going to come to Michigan to go hang gliding or to go to the tulip festival.”


Folks still get giggly when Ted Nugent speaks up.

Instead of viewing him as the moron he is, (see his advocating a return to public lynching with regard to the Boston bombings), his fans, (especially here in Michigan), suggest there is an aura of gravitas surrounding the “Motor City Madman.”

For many, he is positively prophetic.

Truth be known, he is positively full of crap.

Lets take a look at the situation, (and while doing so, please understand that I DO NOT have anything against hunting, fishing, or trapping. Nothing. I don’t hunt because I don’t have time. I love casting a line in the river and waiting for the day some fish will actually bite. I don’t trap because ...why would I?)

So, Nugent says Pure Michigan is catering to the hippie sissies who bring their liberal values and tree-hugging sensitivities to the state, while the REAL men are ignored.

Look, hunters in Michigan generated some $2.3 billion in the state’s economy last year. That’s a lot of money. No doubt about it.

But by that same token, bird watchers, (that is to say, birders), generated $1.2 billion. That’s still a lot of money — and from people who just look at birds.

Tourism in Michigan generated close to $20 billion. Non-hunting tourism spending went up 6 percent in 2012 and is expected to increase 5.5 percent in 2013 according to a Michigan State University study. Visitor numbers to tourism sites have gone increasingly up.

Visits to the Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore went up by 14 percent last year. Even visits to Isle Royale were up 5 percent, and that park is a little more difficult a place to get to.

At the same time, the number of people hunting in Michigan has gone down consistently for years, (934,000 in 1996, to 753,000 ten years later - DNR numbers.)

Nugent seems to think the money spent by three-quarter million hunters is more substantial than the revenue generated by 1.3 million people who visit the Michigan Historical Museum system, (and that number doesn’t include local and regional museums.)

Michigan’s 101 state parks and recreation areas attract close to 22 million visitors a year.

The Pure Michigan campaign, (which cost some $14.3 million in 2011), can be credited with a $1 billion increase in tourism spending, and it certainly has created a lot more interest in state tourism beyond Nugent’s beloved hunting and fishing.

Look, while there are indeed a little under 800,000 licensed hunters in the state, and lots more come from outside Michigan, the Pure Michigan campaign has been responsible for a HUGE increase in tourism - 3.2 million out-of-state visitors in 2011 compared to 2 million the year before.

With all due respect to our hunting and fishing friends, (and no respect reserved for Nugent), millions and millions of people come here NOT to hunt or fish. These folks are not all “hippies”, “liberals” or “politically correct.” They’re just folks and families - with money to spend.

Why ignore them in favor of the secondary attraction - hunting and fishing?

When Nugent claims so stupidly “ ...no one is going to come to Michigan ...to go to the Tulip Festival” he is just demonstrating once again his stunning ignorance.

Last year, over 500,000 people from more than 40 countries visited the Tulip Time Festival in Holland. That’s almost flush with the number of deer hunters - but in one place at one time.

C’mon Ted!

Can you seriously claim no one comes to Michigan except to hunt and fish?

Can you even suggest that the main attraction to this state is hunting and fishing?

Nugent says Pure Michigan is run by a bunch of hippies who ignore hunting and fishing. Bullwash! Even a cursory visit to the Pure Michigan site reveals there are both hunting and fishing topical areas, secondary links, and pages of hunting and fishing sites attached.

What a sad state of affairs when we continue to give this sputtering, blustering buffoon so much credence and importance.

It’s not only that he gets his facts and numbers wrong as he rants and raves about things he doesn’t know or understand, it’s also that he so enthusiastically believes that people who shoot birds are somehow better than people who watch birds; and people who simply float down a river are less deserving than people who fish the river.

So sad.