Ever since the news broke in August about Rep. Paul Ryan being selected for the Vice Presidential nomination with Mitt Romney, the stories and tidbits have emerged about his love of deer hunting and the outdoors.
By Alan Clemons, Southern Managing Editor
Tonight, Ryan will take the stage with Vice President Joe Biden in the only debate between the two before the November election. They’ll be in Danville, Ky., and get things started at 9 p.m. (Eastern). Debate prep probably will keep Ryan from hunting today, which is too bad. Kentucky has some fine whitetails.
Ryan grew up in Wisconsin, a state known for its outstanding deer hunting and outdoors opportunities. In an interview last summer for Deer & Deer Hunting‘s “I’m A Deer Hunter” profile, Ryan said he started hunting as a teenager with family friends, saved money to buy his first gun and killed his first deer with a lever-action rifle.
As is the norm with political coverage and elections, the candidates’ lives have been examined, picked apart, discussed, jeered and hailed. In today’s digital era, they’re also being tweeted, re-tweeted, blogged about and churned like sea shells battered by the ocean’s waves on shore. Nothing out of the ordinary, of course.
What’s interesting this time is Ryan’s a genuine hunter. Political strategists have, in the past, tried to position their candidates as hunters and regular guys to the conservative and moderate voters (see Clinton, Kerry). Ryan doesn’t have to go on a scheduled hunt for the cameras, though.
It’s all part of the process to get votes. Play to the citizenry, give interviews to some select media outlets (even the wives, of course, do this), and we get to see how the political sausage is made. It’s an ugly process.
Some of the tidbits uncovered about Ryan since August:
— Speaking of sausage, Ryan told D&DH he has several freezers at his home and processes his own venison. He told CNN he enjoys chorizo and how he makes his own links. No guesswork with his explanation, either. Sounds like he’s done it numerous times: Paul Ryan, Sausage King
— Archery Trade Association chief executive Jay McAninch wrote that Ryan “is the real deal” in his ATA blog: “How Do You Wear The Bowhunting Label?”
— Ryan reportedly chose Bowhunter for his Secret Service code name, probably one of the easiest for the agents to remember since it probably never has been used before: GQ broke this story
— Ryan’s children enjoy the outdoors and going hunting with him. A few weeks ago he stopped at a Bass Pro Shops store near Cincinnati to buy a few things for his oldest daughter. Given his fiscal prudence, we had to wonder if Ryan accumulates BPS credit points; those things add up, you know!: Blue Light Special on Camo!
— At the annual U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance’s annual “Save Our Heritage” banquet in Ohio two weeks ago, Ryan fit right in with the crowd. Also stirred up the masses with some political speechifying, as was expected: USSA welcomes Ryan
— Ryan says he’s a Catholic deer hunter. How does he know the deer are Catholic? Do they cross themselves before he takes a shot with his Mathews bow? (Hey, a little levity never hurts, OK?): Check out this interview with Safari Club International
— Hmmm … doesn’t shave during deer season? The last Vice President with facial hair was Charles Curtis (1929-33), and he had a ‘stache but no beard.: No razor for a few months?
— Apparently his hunting preparation has helped him with his prep for the big debate against Biden. But we have to ask – will Ryan’s suit be washed in Scent-Killer or have some kind of woodsy, earthy aroma? Perhaps a drag line of Tink’s on the stage would help, too: Hunting prep, debate prep