Ryan on his love for the hunt
August 29th, 2012
03:41 PM ET
2 years ago

Ryan on his love for the hunt

(CNN) – Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says he remains passionate about hunting despite not getting much practice during the legislative session and not finding venison on many menus in Washington, DC.

Ryan talked about his love for hunting in an interview to be published in October's issue of Deer and Deer Hunting magazine. His start in the sport came in high school, after his father died when he was in the 10th grade, when his dad's friend took him hunting in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

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"I got my first deer that year, when I was 16; a doe," Ryan said.

"Boy, I was nervous," said Ryan of his first kill. "I had a great old Winchester .30-30 lever-action like a lot of kids my age used, and it was a super gun. I remember every aspect and detail. There was snow on the ground, so you could see everything so clearly, too."

Asked about a TIME magazine photo of the congressman posing in his Washington office with a hunting bow, Ryan said the hobby was a "natural progression from gun hunting into archery." Ryan acknowledged that picking up archery lengthens the hunting season–presumably a necessity for the Republican who, in between being a congressman for Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District and leading the House Budget Committee, is a family man.

"I bought our daughter a Winchester Model 70 in .243 for Christmas so she can start hunting with me. Wisconsin lowered the hunting age, and she's excited," said Ryan adding however, that he hunted more before he had kids.

"During the firearms season, I'll take a little more time to schedule some trips," said Ryan. "I'll hunt with my pistol in the morning from my bow stands, and then rifle hunt in the afternoons with one of our kids."

Soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tapped the 42 year-old fiscal policy wonk to be his running mate in Norfolk, Virginia in August. Soon after the announcement the pair campaigned in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin. Now, almost three weeks later, Romney and Ryan will accept their party's nomination in Tampa, Florida during this week's Republican National Convention.

Ryan's outdoorsy, outside-of-the-Beltway persona has undoubtedly warmed the ticket to the throngs of conservatives weary of Washington politicians. On the trail, the Romney team touts the duo as anything but Washington bureaucrats. Some, however, have criticized that characterization, noting Ryan's long Washington-centric career in politics began in 1992 as a legislative aide to Senator Robert Kasten of Wisconsin. He graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a degree in political science and economics in 1992.

Still, Ryan said he prepares his own venison and sausage.

"I have some big chest freezers in the basement for my pheasants, ducks, deer and other game," said Ryan. "My family is used to eating wild game."

"But they don't in D.C. That's foreign to them."

Though he does note that in the House he served as chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus for four years, a caucus focused on protecting habitat and access rights for hunting and fishing. So he hasn't been completely alone.

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    It's too bad your dad didn't teach you anything about the love of mankind.

    I don't care at all about your love of hunting, fishing, lying or even reproducing as long as you don't have President or Vice President behind your fake last name because my MediCare and social security are important to me. I EARNED them.

    August 29, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Yonni

    There is something wrong with the man when his sporting activity involves killing innocent animal. Good for a private citizen but I don't want him to be my leader..

    August 29, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Woman In California

    Please take your "Path to Poverty" and leave us alone.
    Thank you.

    August 29, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Steven Colo

    This is beyond weird. Romney selects as his running mate someone known for his Plan, and now the guy is speaking about everything except his Plan. I vote for people based on their stances on issues, not whether they hunt deer.

    August 29, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. tammy lambert chandler az

    I wonder how long it will take Ryan to shoot.. his... huntin buddy in the face.... just like Dick Cheney another backwoods fool stumbling around in the bush..shooting defenseless animals. Hey! bible thumpers I dont think god would approve. Ryan himself calls it "a fun sport" Better rethink when voting...god will know who you chose.... OBAMA 2012

    August 29, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Pat in IL

    How creepy....especially the bow part. Kind of survivalist or skinhead mentality. You can hunt just as well with a camera.

    August 29, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Luke Brown

    This guy's real world experiences include being a Congressional staff person and being married to a Washington lobbyist... oh yeah, and he has a passion for hunting deer. Perfect qualifications for being one heart beat away.

    Romney/Ryan = The Bland leading the Bland

    August 29, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I've been "hunting" too, but I can't find anything but the "Ryan Budget Plan" that is worst than killing a deer but Romney/Ryan refuse to talk about it and there's a damn good reason why they're not.

    August 29, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Sue

    Funny thing about serial animal killers, when it comes to human blood they get queasy. Most won't donate blood because of this. Killing an animal for pleasure, then to take a "trophy" is just creepy.

    August 29, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Aliwisious Davendander III

    Meh. I could care less about his hunting, but he is a life well scripted, wolf in sheeps clothing, Con man who hasn't found a bed of some ultra rich, ultra right wing old man that he hasn't slipped right into and got all cozy with all the while taking government aid every chance he's had. No thanks republicans.

    August 29, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. Ron

    Don't forget about that poor turkey in yesterday's news. That turkey, who almost became the National Bird, if Ben Franklin would have had his way, gets pardoned every year at Thanksgiving at the Whitehouse. We don't need meat to survive and be healthy. The Health Department will say anything to keep their jobs, ....and so will NASA. .."The Grant Check is in the Mail."..... Hunting, especially cute little and big furry animals, is blasfamous and an abomination. IT IS NOT NECESSARY, ANYMORE.

    August 29, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Name oman

    If Ryan becomes Vice President, let see how my programs he and Romney will shoot down for the poor, the sick, the elderly, women, and children. After he and Romney are done hunting, the affected will be living off the land.

    August 29, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. efsullyjr

    And we all know how good it is to have a Vice President who hunts don't we?

    August 29, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Brad

    Good thing hunters could care less what liberals think. Get an NRA life membership and fill your gun safe.

    August 29, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. efsullyjr

    And we all know how good thing turned out the last time we had a Vice President how hunts don't we?

    August 29, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I thought Ryan was Pro-Life

    August 29, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Kate, FL

    These two clowns are embarrassment for most republicans....What a blood thirsty animal that guy is. There is no hope for this election, unfortunately. What a bad choice – Romney / Ryan.

    August 29, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. Larry L

    We're watching the packaging of a Washington insider to look like a folksy, down-home boy who's "serving" due to a greater calling. What a pile of crap. Republicans love to create their own reality. Ryan is a career politician who has done nothing but serve as a lap-dog for the rich. His only ideas worth mentioning are his plans to kill Medicare and Social Security.

    August 29, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. PJ

    He doesn't have catfish in his freezer? You know, the ones he grabs by the jaw with his grubby bare hands
    (Noodling)?
    This guy makes me sick in more ways than one. Using pistols, bow and arrows, and his hands. He has a
    mean streak and I bet he is not a compassionate hunter either. If he hits but does not kill, does he just leave the
    poor things to die or become food for predators? I really can't stand this person. How Romney, the " varmint
    hunter", can put up with him is beyond me.

    August 29, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. LB

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Liberals are so cute! You just wanna pinch there little cheeks! Ah, one day they'll have to grow up and realize that the fantasy land they believe they live in does not and will not ever exist. You ppl keep hugging trees, I'll keep hiring ppl at my company and therefore create a better life for others and more tax payers. Someone has to foot the bill, stinks it's the rest of us. Oh yeah, remember John Kerry goose hunting in OH during the 2004 campaign? Shhh! Don't talk about that! Now everyone will know we're hypocrites!! Oops, my bad...

    August 29, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. CBR

    Hope Rep. Ryan talks about his employment history. It might interest people to know that he has worked in Washington and been another member of the group which receives their pay through the generosity of the American taxpayer. We certainly did not hear him talk about taking a pay cut or cutting staff or giving up some of hte privileges that they all enjoy. Those 1%ers are all there. WE may be privileged to hear
    Donald Trump as well.

    August 29, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. Thaw

    You can be talked about in many ways. Romney is somone I would talk about in a derogatory way – maybe face page has a lot of conversations re Romnay in that way. Ryan I think of and talk about in a derisory way – hopefully he is talked about in this way. As for Ann Romney – she is not worth talking about !!

    There are so many ways – If the GOP had anyone with half a brain then maybe there would be a positive way !!!

    August 29, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. GaryB

    Actually there are a number of places where you can order venison in DC. Granted, it's more of an upscale menu item, but I'm sure Ryan can find a lobbyist willing to pick up the tab (after all, he is married to a lobbyist). Seriously though, it is nice that the Congressman gets plenty of pay and time off to be able to go on hunting trips. A lot of us working stiffs haven't been on a real vacation since the start of Bush's second term.

    August 29, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    This is one brainwashed group of people posting on this column. Why in the dickens don't you find out what the Ryan plan does for people not what it won't do. If something is not done immediately ] about this deficit and debt, America will collapse like Greece. Then guess What? There will be NO MONEY to fund entitlements. Didn't you all see what happened in Greece when the checks stopped coming?? Those people getting checks each month courtesy of the working taxpayers will be waiting in line, waiting for help that just might not come. When the well runs dry, that means no one gets help. Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Britain said, "Socialism is when we run out of OTHER people's money." Get it?????????????

    August 29, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. jj

    WHAT!?!? A Wisconsin man likes to hunt? People don't understand what hunting is to us. Schools allows students to take it off, some businesses allow people to take it off, basically everything stops for hunting season. You go outside you can't hear a single car or a person taking just silence. Hunting it like a religion to us. It would be shocking if he didn't hunt.

    August 29, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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