Paul Ryan Deer Hunter

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					                                                                                                                 hunting with me. Wisconsin
                                                                                                                 lowered the hunting age, and
                                                                                                                 she’s excited. The kids love
                                                                                                                 hunting and being with me

   Paul Ryan                                                                                                     in the stand. We have a great
   U.S. Congressman
   42, Janesville, Wis.                                                                                             How do you balance your
                                                                                                                 love of the outdoors and know
   Favorite season: Archery.
                                                                                                                 its importance in the United
   Hunting partners: His children.
                                                                                                                 States with fiscal responsibil-
   Interview by Alan Clemons                                                                                     ity for the Department of Inte-
   Lead photo: Douglas Gorenstein
   Deer hunting photo courtesy of                                                                                rior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife
   U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan                                                                                           Service? Is that a tough
                                                                                                                 juggling act?
                                                                                                                    It should be a user-fee
   What is your hunting history?                                                                                 finance system. I served as
      I took the state hunter                                                                                    chairman of the Congressional
   safety course a little before I                                                                               Sportsmen’s Caucus for four
   was 12 years old because it was                                                                               years, and the whole purpose
   popular with my friends and I                                                                                 of the caucus is to protect
   wanted to hunt. My father                                                                                     hunting and fishing habitat
   wasn’t a big hunter, but some                                                                                 and rights. Lately, rights have
   of his friends were, and (they)                                                                               been the biggest challenges —
   were the ones who took me                                                                                     access, things like ATV access
   out and were my mentors. I                                                                                    for recovering game, other
   started with rabbits, ducks and                                                                               issues. But with respect to
   pheasant before getting into                                                                                  resources, that’s what Pitman-
   deer hunting.                                                                                                 Robertson is all about.
      I worked mowing lawns
   when I was a kid to save money                                                                                   Do they ever serve venison
   to buy a shotgun and bought                                                                                   at the Capitol?
   a Browning BPS 20-gauge for          everything so clearly, too.          recent is a Z7 Xtreme. I killed a      (Laughs) No, they don’t.
   pheasants. I still have it.                                               140-class (buck) that weighed       But at home I prepare my own
                                            You love bowhunting?             260 pounds. We have some            venison and sausage. I have
       Tell us about your first deer.       Yes, I got into archery from     really big deer in Wisconsin,       some big chest freezers in the
       It was early in high school.     friends who introduced me to         and I try to age them on the        basement for my pheasants,
   Dad died when I was in 10th          it, and I was able to lengthen       hoof as best as I can. That Z7      ducks, deer and other game.
   grade, and one of his buddies        my hunting season. It was            shoots so fast and quietly, too.    My family is used to eating wild
   included me in his deer camp.        really just a natural progression                                        game.
   It’s common to have multi-           from gun hunting into archery.            Do you ever get to hunt?          But they don’t in D.C. That’s
   generational      families    and    Then I got into 3-D targets,              I hunted more before we        foreign to them.
   camps. It was up near Eau            tournaments and 300 leagues          had kids, and then after that
   Claire, and I hunted with them       and really took a liking to all of   it dropped off quite a bit. I’ll
   through my late teens and early      that. Archery became a year-         schedule some morning hunts
   20s. I got my first deer that        round thing for me.                  on weekends when I can and
   year, when I was 16, a doe. The                                           then work in the afternoons
   season opened on Saturday,               Do you get to practice in        if I have to or will be with the
   and I got it Sunday morning.         Washington? That was a cool          family. During the firearms
                                        photo of you in Time Magazine        season, I’ll take a little more
      You probably remember             with a bow in your office.           time to schedule some trips.
   every moment, don’t you?                 No, no target range, unfor-      I’ll hunt with my pistol in the
      Boy, I was nervous. I had a       tunately. For that photo shoot,      morning from my bow stands,
   great old Winchester .30-30          I called my friend Jay McAninch      and then rifle hunt in the after-
   lever-action like a lot of kids my   at the Archery Trade Asso-           noons with one of our kids. We
   age used, and it was a super         ciation to borrow a Mathews          have some two-man ladder
   gun. Man, it was shaking in my       from them. I hunt in Wiscon-         stands, and (the children) really
   hands. Quartering-away shot          sin and also a little in Okla-       enjoy going with me.                         For the full interview
   … I remember every aspect            homa, where my in-laws have               I bought our daughter a                 and more photos, see
   and detail. There was snow on        a ranch. I shoot several differ-     Winchester Model 70 in .243                  deeranddeerhunting.
   the ground, so you could see         ent Mathews bows. My most            for Christmas so she can start

106 |   October 2012                                                                                               

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