The last time a politician's hunting exploits made this many headlines was when former vice president Dick Cheney accidentally pelted a campaign contributor with birdshot.
Six years later, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's hunting pedigree is making news -- in a positive manner - especially in swing states with a heavy presence of outdoorsmen.
"He's an addicted bow hunter; He loves the mystical flight of the arrow," Outdoor Channel show host Ted Nugent said in an interview with Newsmax. "This kind of discipline is just what America needs in leadership and I know it appears to be a huge leap from what some consider recreational activities.
"Paul and I could go to the grocery store if we wanted to, but we have chosen this original primal pursuit of game with a self-limiting weapon. And that says volumes for what drives this man to do the right thing in spite of political correctness."
Although the 13-year U.S. congressmen from Wisconsin changes from muddy camo to a suit, tie and ironed pants, his political career exemplifies his love for the outdoors, which stems from his support of the Second Amendment.
Shortly after Ryan, 42, was named by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as his running mate, the Virginia Shooting Sports Association released a statement: "Ryan brings a strong budgetary background to the (Republican) ticket but also brings a strong record of support for the Second Amendment. Sportsmen and hunters will also relate to Ryan's love of hunting and fishing."
Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, has received an A rating from the NRA for his history of actions. According to Sportsmenvote.com, Ryan voted "yes" to the D.C. Personal Protection Act, which would grant gun rights in the Washington D.C area, the Affordable Reloaded Munitions Supply Act, which acts to rescind the ban on the sale of used military brass to civilians, and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prohibits reckless lawsuits against firearms manufactures.
|Paul Ryan poses with a deer he harvested with a bow. (Courtesy Paul Ryan) |
He also voted in favor of The Sportsmen's Heritage Act, which according to the U.S. Sportsmen Alliance is "the most significant piece of pro-sportsmen legislation during Ryan's tenure in Congress. The bill, which declares federal land open to hunting, fishing and recreational shooting among other things, passed the U.S. House of Representatives in April and has not yet been granted a hearing yet in the Senate."
A member of the Quality Deer Management Association, Ryan was chosen by Romney in part to increase the Republican ticket's popularity with outdoorsman. The Huffington Post said Romney has "struggled with his own record on gun rights and famously flopped in his effort to connect with hunters during his 2008 presidential campaign when he claimed that 'small varmints' were his quarry of choice."
Outside of the politics, Ryan's life is one of a seasoned outdoorsman. According to The New York Post, he is "an avid hunter who wrestles catfish with his bare hands and taught his 10-year-old daughter how to shoot a rifle."
Ryan has shared his love of hunting with his wife, Janna. The Washington Post reported that "the pair often hunted together during their brief courtship in 1999, and even shared a deer stand," and that Ryan "asked Janna to marry him on a lake where he often fished."
Ryan lives and breathes the outdoors, and many organizations in the outdoors world are touting that aspect.
"Paul Ryan is a congressman, statesman, and policymaker at our nation's highest level," Jay McAnish, President of the Archery Trade Association told Wiredtohunt.com. "And he bow hunts. To my knowledge, that's never happened before ... in fact, take just one look at Paul Ryan holding a bow at full draw, and you know he's the real deal; a hardcore bow hunter. He's not just another politician holding a gun or bow for the first time - maybe the only time - while currying favor with our country's largest hunting block."