2008 SHOT Show — Boggs: hunting 'not a dirty word'

LAS VEGAS — Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs told hunters to "come out of the closet" today, while rocker Ted Nugent urged potential speakers to reach out to people "ignorant" of hunting.

"If you're an actor or a professional athlete, let us know you hunt," Boggs said at a news conference at the Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show. "Be proud of it. It's not a dirty word. It's not a dirty word at all. Let us know. Be on our side. And jump on the bandwagon."

He and Nugent addressed the media to announce — and recruit for — the Professional Outdoor Media Association's new Outdoor Speakers Bureau.

"We as professional athletes are called role models," said Boggs, a career .328 hitter for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "No, each and every person in this room is a role model."

Nugent, known to all but his mother as the Motor City Madman, said he already receives more requests for speaking engagements than he can accept. But the "Cat Scratch Fever" artist relishes the chance to address non-hunting audiences, "never defending our perfect sport, but celebrating it and promoting it as God's own creation."

Speaking about hunting and the outdoors amounts to "critical environmental information" for audiences, particularly young ones without exposure to the sport, Nugent said.

"Always there are going to be those embarrassingly ignorant people, at schools and universities in particular, who still believe the whitetailed deer is endangered — which it is, if I'm in camp," he said.

He closed by addressing other speakers on the dais — including TV hunting personalities Michael Waddell, Bill Miller and Larry Weishuhn: "Backstraps for all!"

Set your sights on the show floor in our 2008 SHOT show Las Vegas gallery.