December 27th, 2007
06:30 AM ET
15 years ago

Huckabee goes hunting

Watch scenes from Huckabee's hunting outing Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's become a campaign staple for all presidential candidates: perform an activity that demonstrates 'regular-guy' status.

Republican Mike Huckabee took his turn Wednesday, going on a pheasant hunt in Osceola, Iowa during which the Arkansas governor made it clear he is no stranger to the great outdoors.

"Maybe it will show that I certainly understand the culture of being outdoors," he said of the expedition. "It's not something we had to go out and get a primer in. It's very much ordinary to me."

Huckabee's team brought back three pheasants - one of which the candidate claimed he personally shot - and promised they'd be "cleaned and eaten."

Huckabee, who polls show continues to hold onto his lead in Iowa eight days before the state¹s caucuses - also joked the trip could serve as a metaphorical campaign message.

"Don't get in my way," he said while pointing to the three dead birds.

"This is what happens…You vote for me, you live. You don't…there you go."

Huckabee said he was as a lifelong hunter, a statement that harkened back to rival Mitt Romney's similar claim earlier this year. The former Massachusetts governor later backtracked from that statement, saying he had only hunted "small varmints" occasionally.

Huckabee's rise is fueled in part by his "normal guy" appeal, and the governor took the opportunity to reinforce his heartland roots.

“People in Middle America feel like folks will come and campaign in Iowa, and then they get elected and they forget that people out here in flyover land still exist," he said. “Some of us grew up in the middle of the country and still live here."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Dana Bash

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (344 Responses)
  1. Raymond

    Normal guy? Globalist elitists are NOT your average Joe. And don't let that Baptist preacher nonsense fool you either. Christians that flock to this guy are like sheep lined up for the slaughter.

    You think we have an immigration problem NOW, just imagine what it will be like if this guy gets elected. North American Union.

    December 27, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. john

    fergusmom: ummm, huh? i understand hunting for food, but how is hunting for sport (the fun of killing something) more ethical than hunting for politcal advantage (the fun of having power)? i wonder if the bird can tell he's being shot for politics instead of just for sport...

    by the way....interesting words from a preacher: 'vote for me or i'll kill you.' pretty sure that's not wjd (or say).

    December 27, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    I wonder since Bhutto's assassination, if Huckabee still thinks his joke is funny?

    December 27, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Jose Card - Independent

    I wonder where Huckabee's son got the idea of hanging that stray dog.

    December 27, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Rhino

    If you're not into hunting, that's fine – but don't push your values onto those of us who are.
    If you'd take a moment to become familiar with the sport, you'd soon find that pheasant hunting in Iowa can be a real treat, probably overshadowed only by South Dakota for the avid pheasant hunter's places they'd like to hunt.
    Huck wasn't doing anything other than what thousands of out-of-state hunters – which include politicians, ditchdiggers and CEOs – do every year.
    He even tried to head off the whining by reminding people that were it not for hunters, pheasants most likely wouldn't thrive anywhere in the U.S.
    Some of us enjoy taking some responsibility for the food we consume by harvesting it ourselves and actually enjoy the whole experience. Some people just as soon load their meat into a steel cart in a local supermarket. One is not "worse" than the other, just different – deal with it.

    December 27, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Laurinda

    Oh Brian from Syracuse, you are so funny. I loved what you said.

    December 27, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. floridasandy

    he creeps me out big-time. no wonder he had a son who caught, tortured, and slit the throat of a stray dog! ugh!!!

    December 27, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. Sue F, Wentworth NH

    The ringneck pheasant was not nearly wiped out. It is an introduced species from asia that is raised for eating and hunting. It is probably the most docile and close to domestic of the pheasants kept normally in captivity. It doesn't belong released into US forests and fields. A better choice would be the breeding of a native game bird. It is not a native bird. Shooting into a flock of chickens would be just as sporting.

    I regularly have the poor things wander onto my farm looking for food and sanctuary. They are released opening day and immediately have macho men shooting at them. The fish and game people often have to tell the hunters to wait until the men are clear before shooting. Raised in pens and fed by humans all their lives until they are stuffed in crates and dumped in the middle of nowhere the birds suffer. What the hunters don't kill the native predators get. They aren't given time to adjust from being a chicken to being a wild bird.

    Everybody near here has a pheasant horror story from carcasses left to rot missing just the wings and tail, to feeding a bird in the backyard only to have a moron with a gun pop out of the woods and shoot it while the family is right there near the bird. I had a goat shot opening day of pheasant season. I had an old horse die of heart failure because morons went under my electric fence and were shooting near the horses. They even thought it was funny that their dog got electrocuted. Some things should be. Pheasant hunting is one of those nasty things. It seems to attract idiots.

    December 27, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. Kevin

    Mike Huckabee claims he hunts ducks 30 times a season, but he doesn't know how to turn the safety off his gun? I smell a skunk!

    December 27, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  10. Travis, Gainesville, FL

    Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL – I think you're on to something. At the minimum he's a BAD shepherd. And I know how what to compare him to since I know about the GOOD shepherd.

    December 27, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. Roy

    Dear Jesus, please let the Republicans nominate this neochristian Elmer Gantry bumpkin as their Presidential Candidate. After eight years of Bush we need the comic relief and the joy of watching another neocon jerk getting his butt kicked by the likes of Hillary or Obama. Amen

    December 27, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  12. Elly Werner, great grandmother

    Huckabee is showing his bravado by shooting birds in Iowa, and using this as a message in humor or otherwise: Vote for me or this is what happens. You live or you die. How many times have we seen this scene played out in our school shootings? Is he sending a message to the youth on how to act out their future? Huckabee, put down your gun if you want to be president. We have had enough of a gun minded president!

    December 27, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  13. Pancho

    Just read a great story on CNNSI re Obama playing hoops in Iowa against an SI writer. Wait, who is Obama pandering to? Black people in Iowa? Are there any? He should have gone pheasant hunting w/ Huck.

    December 28, 2007 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  14. arfisher, Midlothian, VA

    I think this hunting trip was an absolutely horrendous mistake for Huckabee. The picture says it all, followed by the comments of this is what is going to happen to those that oppose me? Not good. Not a president not even a pastor for me.

    December 28, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. Kathy, TX

    Oh come on CNN.....That's not's Gomer Pyle! Gaaahlee. 🙂

    December 28, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. PW Va

    Cheney wouldn't happen to have been along on this little jaunt, would he???

    December 28, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Bex, TN

    You can judge a guy pretty well y the way he treats animals, and if anyone cared to look into this guy's history they would see the sorts of horrific things he and his family have done. His son hung a dog and slit its throat for fun, and he himself caged his dog an put the poor creature on the roof rack whilst driving... and now he's shooting birds and essentially threatening o shoot us if we don't vote for him?
    You know what though, it'll be hilarious if he does get elected, he seems to represent what republicans are all about.

    December 28, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Yogi

    Bhutto seems to have become a bigger phenomenon in USA than she ever was even in Pakistan!

    December 29, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. jan

    huc-kill-berry- please stay out of florida.your llying ,cheating, racest,ignorant ways and fake preaching ways aren't wanted here.the more we hear about the truthful hateful you.the more i like mitt and john. we can't count votes here very well,but we are great judges of character. you are phoney.your theme song should be – hit the road jack,and don't come here no more.

    January 18, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
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