Not too many folks can say a legend in the worlds of rock music and hunting sent them a personal message.
But Carter Curtis can.
The 5-year-old Oxford Township resident recently received a 20-second video message from none other than the Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent.
In it, the always-energetic Nugent said, “Hey, Carter! Happy spring time in the wilds of the winter water wonderland of Michigan. This is your Uncle Ted saying, ‘Aim small, miss small. And be the mystical flight of the arrow.’ So, your dad made you a handmade longbow? You’re the luckiest kid in America – except for me. Live it up!”
“I was kind of surprised, to be honest,” said Carter’s father, Aaron Curtis, a 1998 Oxford High School graduate. “I thought it was extremely cool of him to take the time to do something like that.”
“That was something special,” said Carter’s mother, Courtney Curtis. “He didn’t have to do it, but he did. It was really neat.”
So, how does a kindergartner at Daniel Axford Elementary get on The Nuge’s radar?
Well, it all started with a video created by his parents. In it, Carter is shown target shooting using a longbow handcrafted by his father. Courtney added theme music to it – Nugent’s famous 1995 song “Fred Bear,” a tribute to the late bow-hunting pioneer that quickly became an anthem for deer hunters.
“I play that song a lot around here,” Aaron said.
Carter’s been handling a bow since age 3.
“He wants to shoot all the time,” Aaron said. “He’s an extremely good shot for his age. He’s got really good form for a 5-year-old.”
But Carter didn’t start shooting a traditional longbow until this year.
“He’s been shooting it (for) about a month,” Aaron said. “Shooting a longbow isn’t really easy . . . but he’s pretty good at it. He knows how to hold it and shoot it. There’s a lot more instinct with shooting a longbow . . . Letting a string go seems (like a) pretty simple (thing) to do, but letting it go correctly isn’t easy.”
Aaron made the longbow’s upper and lower limbs out of hickory and used osage orange for the grip and the tips.
In the video, Carter makes some nice shots.
“He did hit a bull’s-eye, but I don’t know if he was necessarily aiming at it,” Aaron admitted.
Aaron sent the video to Jenny Olsen, the Ortonville native who’s the co-host and producer of Michigan Out-of-Doors Television. He did some animal control work for her.
“She fired it off to Ted,” Aaron said.
The next thing you know, Carter got a message from his Uncle Ted. Aaron said his son was “pretty excited” and “a little embarrassed” by it because he’s “super shy.”
“When he saw the video, he couldn’t stop smiling,” Aaron said. “Carter knows who he is. He’s familiar with Ted Nugent because he’s big into hunting and watches his hunting shows.”
Aaron was quite impressed that an icon like Nugent did something so unique and personal for his son. “He could have just looked at (the video), deleted it and not responded,” he said.
Aaron called Nugent “a great ambassador” for the hunting, trapping and shooting community. “He does a lot to help promote the shooting sports and fight for our rights,” he said.
Aaron believes it’s important to teach young kids about the outdoors because “there are so many distractions now that the simple things are getting lost.”
“Some of my favorite memories are (of) doing things in the outdoors with my family,” he said. “It’s important that I continue that with my kids and teaching them how to shoot a bow – and make one, for that matter – allows me to spend a lot of valuable time with my three boys.”
One day, Carter will be using his bow to bag his fair share of deer, just like his dad, who shot two does in January with his longbow.
“He’s just a kid who likes being in the woods,” Courtney said. “Anything outdoors, he’s doing it – catching frogs, shooting a bow, fishing, trapping, whatever. He’s got traps set up everywhere.”
“He’s always trying to catch something,” Aaron said.