Washington Secrets

Bowhunter Ryan attracts 'Hunger Games' vote

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Photo - Rep. Paul Ryan with a 10-point Wisconsin buck.
Rep. Paul Ryan with a 10-point Wisconsin buck.
Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's choice for vice president, not only rallies conservatives and those concerned about the nation's fiscal woes, but deer hunters and conservationists are also cheering. The reason: He's an accomplished bowhunter.

"Paul Ryan is a congressman, statesman and policymaker at our nations highest levels. And he bowhunts. To my knowledge, that's never happened before," said Jay McAninch, president of the Archery Trade Association.

Ryan's choice of a bow an arrow to hunt deer brings a new type of conservationist and hunter to the political stage and one from the fastest growing field of hunters. Typically, candidates for president and vice president have fished or hunted birds with a shotgun. His bowhunting might also attract those hooked on the Hunger Games movie, said one associate.

In a blog post on his website, McAnich revealed that Ryan has gone to bat for archery fans. He said that Ryan nearly 10 years ago led an effort to change the tax on arrows to level the playing field for American makers.

What seemed to surprise McAnich is that Ryan has never asked for any favors or freebies. "Ever since meeting Congressman Ryan in the late 1990s, I've noticed he pays for everything he requests. In fact, he insists on paying. This struck me as unique, even unusual. That's because I've often seen professional athletes, singers and celebrities EXPECT to receive equipment just for showing up at an event. This contrast is especially noteworthy, given that our society assumes all politicians are on the take," he wrote.

Bowhunters took notice recently when Ryan gave Time Magazine a picture of him with a 10-point buck taken with an arrow. It's the standard Bowhunting Magazine type of pose, but a very rare picture for a politician. To bowhunters like McAnich, it just showed that Ryan is a hardcore hunter, like most bowhunters, and proud of his successes.

He wrote: "I'm aware of many VIPs, celebrities, musicians, political figures, professional athletes, and stars of the screen and stage who enjoy bowhunting. I've seen autographed pictures of many of them adorning walls of archery shops and manufacturers' offices. The autographs often include a thanks for a hunt or the privilege of shooting some of the best equipment in the industry. Yet as I watch this list grow over the years, I don't recall anyone of Paul Ryan's stature making public statements in the mainstream press about their support for bowhunting. In fact, take just one look at Paul Ryan holding a bow at full draw, and you know he's the real deal; a hardcore bowhunter. He's not just another politician holding a gun or bow for the first time - maybe the only time - while currying favor with our country's large hunting bloc."

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