On Monday, one of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee‘s campaign staffers published a short video of the former Arkansas governor blasting a pheasant out of the sky on a hunt in Iowa.
The Internet subsequently erupted into a furor over the video, with some arguing that it was staged, while others countered that Huckabee’s detractors simply didn’t know anything about hunting pheasants. All the while, my mouth began watering at the thought of having fresh pheasant for dinner.
— J. Hogan Gidley (@JHoganGidley) November 2, 2015
It all started when Deadspin writer Alberto Burneko lambasted Huckabee’s hunting skills in a blog post. Arguing that Huckabee’s obliteration of a pheasant, which appeared to have been released by a visible assistant from a few dozen yards away, wasn’t “hunting,” Burneko noted that “if this is ‘hunting,’ then I was ‘fishing’ when I went to the supermarket yesterday and bought a pound of EZ-peel shrimp.”
Of course, whether or not Huckabee’s shot at the bird was fair or sportsmanlike wasn’t necessarily the main beef. Rather, it was its being called “hunting” when, as the Des Moines Register reported, several members of the national and local press were on hand to document the excursion. This wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill hunt. It was Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King‘s regular pheasant hunt, which GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz also attended. (Bobby Jindal only showed up for dinner later that night.)
“This is not a demonstration of hunting prowess,” wrote Burneko, “but of mere, bare willingness to fire a gun at a living thing.”
In one of many subsequent Twitter arguments the Deadspin writer got into, photojournalist Mark Kauzlarich scoffed at the blog’s original claim that the pheasant Huckabee shot was a “captive.”
@AlbertBurneko and no, there were no captive pheasants on the 1,000 acre game reserve.
— Mark Kauzlarich (@MJKauz) November 3, 2015
All very interesting, for sure, but what about the pheasant that Huckabee shot? Did he really obliterate it?
According to the video clip, he (or she) has — to paraphrase Monty Python — passed on. That pheasant is no more. He has ceased to be. He has expired and gone to meet his maker… HE IS AN EX-PHEASANT. Whether or not Huckabee’s shot at the bird was staged is irrelevant, as that game is most assuredly dead. Or as Huckabee put it, “He’s as dead as Elvis.”
“I don’t think any of us were hunting today because we knew if we didn’t we wouldn’t have dinner,” said the ex-governor. “But I think it is also important for people to understand that when you hunt, you hunt for things that you plan to eat.”
If Jindal’s stomach had anything to say about it, that pheasant probably tasted really, really good.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.