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Rick Perry and His Hunting Buddies

Is this our kind of leader?

Gov. Perry on a hunting expedition

Exactly when Texas Gov. Rick Perry painted over the rock at the entrance to his Ni**erhead Ranch is something we may never know or care to know. But the recent news, along with the continuing cover-up of who did what and when, has also led journalists to uncover quite a lot about the Governor’s hunting habits and buddies.

The Daily Beast has a detailed story by Wayne Barrett about a three-day hunting expedition celebrating Perry’s father Ray’s 81st birthday in 2006. Invited guests included Michael Waddell, who has his own TV hunting show on The Outdoor Channel, and the rather sordid “musician” Ted Nugent.

According to Waddellon his personal blog:

“Gov. Perry took a turkey with his bow. I must say, Gov. Perry was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He’s an excellent sportsman and hunter, and he doesn’t have a problem with letting people know how passionate he is about the outdoor sports. He’s just a down-to-earth good ol’ country boy.”

Here’s what he says about Perry’s buddy Ted Nugent:

“I had always wanted the chance to hunt with Ted Nugent. He didn’t care about hunting ‘thunder chickens’ as he called them. He was much more excited about spotting and stalking hogs with his 8mm pistol in the river bottoms.

“…. He’s hilarious and fun to listen to, not to mention he has a very strong passion for fighting gun laws and confronting anti-gun and anti-hunting people.”

Less “hilarious” is the fact that Nugent has been convicted of hunting deer illegally in California. After he was shown on TV using bait on a hunt for black-tail deer, he was banned from hunting in the state until June 2012. He’s also been banned in Kansas and is being investigated in South Dakota.

In the Daily Beast, Barrett notes that one of Nugent’s concerts was canceled because he used the n-word on a radio show promoting it, and that the singer-hunter had earlier explained that his frequent use of the word came from his “hanging out with a lot of ni****s.” He’s also used obscene language when talking about President Obama and sexually obscene language when talking about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And he describes Gov. Perry as “a dear friend.” (He was a star performer at Perry’s black-tie inaugural banquet.)

But back to the turkey hunt. Here’s more from Waddell’s blog:

“A few minutes after daybreak, a gobbler came in with several hens. When the gobbler was only a few yards away, Chuck smoked him. It was about as cut and dry as is gets.

“We heard a tom gobble, but we could also hear the hens with him and knew that he wouldn’t come to us, so we … crawled through the grass on our bellies until we were approximately 30 yards from the birds. Then … Chuck put the gobbler in his sights and made another good shot.

“He really strutted and showed off for the camera. I shot him at 10 yards.

“Within a few minutes, one longbeard broke off from the 15 hens he was with and ran up to our decoy. I shot and killed him.”

Turkeys live in close families, usually with one male guarding and protecting a group of females and their chicks.

More than just the fact of luring these males away from their families to kill them, there’s something grotesque and chilling about the descriptions of Gov. Perry’s hunting expedition: “Chuck smoked him” and “He really strutted and showed off for the camera.”

Yes, tom turkeys are handsome birds who do indeed show off, hoping to be chosen by the females they woo. And this particular turkey doubtless came up to the men to make a display of his feathers and let them know he was the protector of his family. So they laughed and shot him.

It’s one thing to kill and eat other animals when you need the food. But there’s nothing attractive about debased men showing off to each other about how they can “smoke” a bird who’s living his life and caring for his family. It just demonstrates a fundamental disrespect for life.

Put it all together – the name of the ranch, the kind of people the Governor associates with, and his idea of an enjoyable day out with his friends – and you have a clear picture of a man who would be our next president.

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