(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.