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A hunter is running for president

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  • Pat Scala
    Richardson adept as recreational hunter By BARRY MASSEY, Associated Press Writer June 7, 2007 SANTA FE, N.M. - Bill Richardson governor, presidential
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 9 11:06 AM
      Richardson adept as recreational hunter
      By BARRY MASSEY, Associated Press Writer
      June 7, 2007

      SANTA FE, N.M. - Bill Richardson governor,
      presidential candidate, hunter is a good shot, and he
      has the prey to prove it.

      "I would call myself a recreational hunter. I am not
      an avid hunter or an expert hunter," Richardson said
      in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

      The New Mexico governor says hunting is just a hobby
      and he's still a novice since he took it up in earnest
      only about four years ago, when he became governor of
      New Mexico. Fellow hunters praise his skills.

      Richardson has bagged traditional game such as elk and
      turkey and stalked the exotic. He shot an oryx, a
      long-horned antelope native to Africa, during a guided
      outing in 2005 on a New Mexico ranch owned by media
      mogul Ted Turner.

      He owns a 12-gauge Browning over-and-under shotgun,
      which he's used for hunting birds, including quail and
      dove. Richardson also owns a 9 mm semiautomatic
      pistol, which is not for hunting, but he has a state
      permit to carry it concealed. He's borrowed rifles to
      hunt big game such as elk, deer and the oryx.

      Richardson has purchased hunting licenses each year
      since he took office in 2003, according to state Game
      and Fish Department records.

      In campaign appearances, Richardson cites his Western
      political roots to explain his positions on issues
      such as gun control and an endorsement by the National
      Rifle Association during his gubernatorial re-election
      last year.

      While a congressman, the Democrat voted against a ban
      on assault weapons and opposed a seven-day waiting
      period for handgun purchases. As governor, he backed
      and signed legislation allowing New Mexicans to carry
      concealed weapons.

      The Western images fill a new television ad,
      introduced last week and airing in Iowa and New
      Hampshire that focuses on Richardson's energy
      policies. The ad opens with New Mexico landscapes and
      includes scenes of Richardson hunting with two other
      people and riding horses with his wife, Barbara.

      Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at
      Drake University, said Richardson's attempt to portray
      himself as a Westerner may help distinguish the
      governor from other Democratic candidates.

      "This is not an image that Democrats normally run
      with," said Goldford, who added that the governor's
      pro-gun positions may not win over liberal voters.

      In the Republican field, Mitt Romney has been
      criticized for calling himself a lifelong hunter
      although he never had hunting licenses in any of the
      four states where he has lived. Romney says he's
      hunted rabbits and varmints, and didn't need a license
      to hunt for certain small animals.

      Richardson relaxed in his Capitol office and dressed
      in blue jeans, cowboy boots and a silver bolo tie with
      turquoise - said he began hunting because he "wanted
      to go one step beyond" the skeet shooting he'd done in
      the past. With skeet, clay targets are flung into the
      air at different angles.

      "When I became governor ... I was looking for hobbies.
      And I basically took up horseback riding, which I knew
      how to do. I had horses before. And hunting," said
      Richardson.

      "My true recreational loves are riding my horse and
      hunting because there are no cell phones, no beepers,
      no BlackBerries."

      The governor says he prefers hunting birds.

      "You know I'm a little impatient and when you're doing
      oryx and elk, you tend to get one or two shots. You've
      got to find them. But with dove, you have a lot of
      opportunities," he said.

      Friends describe Richardson as a good shot.

      Jamie Koch of Santa Fe recalls Richardson shooting a
      grouse as it flew through a narrow gap in trees during
      a horseback trip into the Pecos Wilderness near Santa
      Fe.

      "Man he just nailed it," said Koch. "I said to myself,
      'He's never going to hit that damn grouse.' It was a
      heckuva shot."

      Turner gave permission for Richardson's hunt but he
      wasn't at the 360,000-acre Armendaris Ranch when
      Richardson killed the oryx in September 2005,
      according to Tom Waddell, the ranch manager. The
      governor also didn't have to pay the $2,500 fee that's
      normally charged for an individual to hunt trophy oryx
      - one with at least 36-inch horns. Guides gutted and
      skinned the animal that Richardson shot.

      Richardson said it was his most memorable hunt. He
      downed the oryx with one shot from at least 100 yards.


      He had the oryx head mounted and keeps it in a
      downstairs room at the governor's mansion. His other
      hunting trophies also are displayed there: a set of
      bull elk antlers and a stuffed wild turkey.

      And what happened to the elk meat?

      "We ate it at the mansion," said Richardson.





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