Ted Nugent speaks, Zinke signs order at SLC Hunting Expo

Protesters speak out against Zinke's visit (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) - Classic rocker Ted Nugent, in Salt Lake City on Friday, had no shortage of words for hunting, which he cast as an indispensable form of conservation.

"September, October, November, December, January, February are sacred hunting months," said Nugent in a 2News interview Friday, before his talk at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo. "Hunting, fishing and trapping is the last perfect activity that benefits the environment."

Nugent, now 70, had praise for President Trump, condemned "political correctness," and spoke of the power of a "hunter nation."

"We never ever should waste our energies defending the political incorrectness of hunting and Second Amendment rights," he said. "We should always celebrate them and promote them."

Also at the expo, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed a "secretarial order" that he said would protect big game in "wildlife corridors."

At least one environmental group, the Center for Western Priorities, derided the move, calling it an attempt by Zinke to "greenwash" an "abysmal record" on conservation.

Outside the Salt Palace, demonstrators protested over the Trump Administration downsizing of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments.

"I want to hear that he's renegotiating and re-looking at what they've already set," said Gary Bilger, who used to work in the energy industry, and joined the protesters. "They're giving special interests a bigger ear, okay, oil, gas, and coal."

Zinke bristled at the notion.

Watch Brian Mullahy's report on Zinke below:

"I have heard nefarious arguments about mining, and oil and gas," said the secretary. "It is nefarious. It's false."

Zinke also said there's "no chance" of revisiting the decision to shrink the sizes of the monuments, and claimed in the case of Bears Ears, safeguards are still in place.

"Here's what you don't hear, there isn't one square inch of Bears Ears that was removed from any federal protection," he said.

Lawsuits against the smaller monuments have been filed, and Terri Martin of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance said the case her organization has joined is "pending" in a Washington, DC court.

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