Barack Obama would like us all to forget his derisive 2008 insult about clinging to guns and religion, but Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan took the statement as a challenge. In an interview with Deer & Deer Hunting magazine where Ryan outlines his credentials as an avid deer hunter, he proudly notes that, “From a guy who goes to St. John Vianney over there, whose tree stand is over about six miles that direction and that direction, this Catholic deer hunter is guilty as charged and proud of that.”
Ryan recalls his first gun, and also notes that he is passing on the hunting tradition to his own children. He recently bought a Winchester Model 70 in .243 for his daughter, so she can join him in the deer stand. And he gave a plug to NSSF’s efforts to increase hunter recruitment and retention when he noted that “Wisconsin lowered the hunting age, and she’s excited. The kids love hunting and being with me in the stand. We have a great time.” That’s a reference to the recent accomplishment of our Families Afield program, which, by working with our partner organizations, seeks to increase youth hunting participation by advocating for lowering arbitrary minimum hunting ages in states that have them.
According to our research, hunting teaches traditional values, connectivity with nature and healthy lifestyles. Even Bill Clinton donned waders to spend a chilly morning in a Maryland duck blind, tipping his hat to the hunting culture. Will the next vice president be a real hunter or someone who proudly boasts he helped write and pass the Clinton ban on modern sporting rifles? We will find out once the #gunvote is tallied up on Election Day.