(CNN) - Before taking off on a hunting trip with Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, an influential figure and highly sought-after endorsement in the state with the nation's first caucuses, Texas Gov. Rick Perry talked about his "love affair" with guns.
"As long as I've got memory, I've had something to hunt with," Perry said Saturday. "It was a long love affair with a boy and his gun that turned into a man and his gun, and then it turned into a man and his son and his daughter and their guns."
The folksy governor, while speaking with reporters near the hunting grounds, used the moment to defend gun rights and the Second Amendment, an issue he's long advocated.
"I think one of the great America traditions is taking your family to go hunting," Perry said.
King hosted his annual Col. Bud Day Pheasant Hunt at the 900-acre Loess Hills Hunting Preserve in Iowa. Former Pennsylvania senator and White House hopeful Rick Santorum will join the congressman for a hunt Sunday morning.
While King didn't signal who he'll back for GOP nomination, he praised the sport of hunting for creating "instantaneous bonds" and said that he and Perry had good discussions earlier Saturday.
"I'm conflicted on all of this because I have so much respect for all the candidates," King said. "I agree with what I've heard here this morning and we had a good in-depth conversation a couple weeks ago."
Perry also weighed in on the fiery exchange on immigration he had with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Romney attacked Perry for governing a state that's seen a sharp increase in the number of illegal immigrants since he took office, but Perry hit back claiming Romney had hired undocumented workers on his property.
"Mitt stands back and make statements about criticizing Texas for how they've had to deal with an issue that the federal government and people like himself are the problem," Perry said. "It was a passionate back and forth."
–CNN's Steve Brusk contributed to this report.