It was an announcement of historic proportion and a political maneuver unlike any before. And whatever the outcome of the November 6 election, thousands of American hunters and sportsmen will always remember where they were when they heard the news that bowhunter and avid outdoorsman, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, was Mitt Romney’s choice as running mate on the 2012 Republican Presidential ticket.
Minutes after Gov. Romney’s announcement Saturday morning, Aug. 11, the floor at the 12th annual Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) Convention in Nashville, Tenn. was abuzz with the news that one of their contemporaries was officially a candidate for Vice President.
In a recent New York Times article, when asked about his favorite reading material, Ryan responded, ”What I look forward to reading the most is Quality Whitetails Journal. It’s from the Quality Deer Management Association and gives insight on deer biology and habitat stewardship.”
The man who might be the next Vice President of the United States has been a QDMA member for almost 10 of the organization’s 12 years and regularly plants clover on his mother’s southern Wisconsin property to attract and hold deer.
Long before the six-term republican from Janesville was a household name, he’d tell anyone who would listen about his passion for hunting whitetail with a bow and arrow. From 2007 to 2011, Rep. Ryan served as co-chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the largest and most influential bi-partisan caucus in Congress dealing with important hunting, conservation, public lands and Second Amendment issues.
Ryan’s record as a seven-term congressman includes:
- Voting to protect the right of hunters to use traditional ammunition;
- Voting to prohibit suing manufacturers and retailers for the criminal misuse of firearms;
- Sponsoring legislation to make the Pittman-Robertson excise tax payment schedule more equitable to manufacturers;
- Voting to decrease the firearms waiting period from 3 days to 1 day for a firearm purchased at a gun show;
- An A-rating by the NRA for overall voting record;
- Supporting national concealed-carry standardization.
In June, while speaking at a gathering in Texas, Ryan admitted in public for the first time that in addition to being an ardent bowhunter who never misses opening day of whitetail archery season in his home state of Wisconsin, he also has a passion for catching big catfish with his bare hands—also known as noodling.
Ryan told the audience that he planned to head to Oklahoma and take his children fishing on Lake Texoma, then indulge in another favorite activity in the afternoon.
“I’m going to go out with some of my Okie friends, and I’m going to do something that I’ve been doing for a number of years: noodling catfish.”
When we wake on the morning of November 7, the man who could be second in command of the most powerful nation in the world might be a bowhunter—and a catfish grabbler.
God Bless America!
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