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November 17, 2017

‘We are about the circle of nature’: An Iowa hunter explains rural America’s love of hunting

There are many misconceptions surrounding gun ownership and hunting, Michael Gooder says on the occasion of his family’s annual “Pheasant Opener.” Hunting is all about fellowship and, in Gooder’s case, harvesting and serving the wild bird to the hunters and their guests. “It’s from the hunt to the table in one day,” the Cresco, Iowa, man explains.

“It’s not just about going out into the field and killing. It’s more important to us to have a good ethical hunt, harvest a few birds, and then prepare it immediately so that people can really understand what hunting is about.”

“Hunters are truly great environmentalists,” Gooder says, because they give back to the environment by planting trees and creating habitats for deer and pheasants, songbirds and small game, and many other forms of wildlife.

The last presidential election proved how politically potent hunters can be, because there was a clear difference in what the two candidates were proposing in regards to gun rights, Gooder says. Hunters voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump because he was seen as the candidate who would protect gun rights and the hunting culture.

This echoes what others in the rural Midwest have said about the importance of gun rights. In rural Wisconsin, Democratic state senator Kathy Vinehout said many people voted for Trump because they felt that with Hillary Clinton as president, their gun rights would be stripped and they wouldn’t be able to “fill their freezers.”

Gooder says he has seen many friends from across the country take part in his pheasant opener and walk away surprised to learn what hunting is truly about. “We are about the circle of nature,” he says.


This video was originally featured as a part of the Washington Examiner’s series The Race to 2020: The people and places that will define a presidency. You can read more about Howard County, see more videos, or use the form below to get email updates about future updates.

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