Governor Terry Branstad has picked out the spot to display his latest hunting conquest, the preserved head of the 10-point buck he shot this weekend during the governor’s deer hunt near Centerville.
“I think it’s the biggest one I’ve gotten, so we’re going to do the taxidermy. Eventually it’ll go in the small conference room. We have an antelope and a deer in there already,” Branstad told Radio Iowa this week, laughing as he added: “It’s getting kind of crowded.”
The small conference room Branstad mentioned is in the private area of his statehouse office. It’s muzzleloader hunting season in Iowa and Branstad used a muzzleloader to shoot the deer, but the governor gives his hunting guide, Doug Hurley, a lot of credit for the kill.
“He’s one of the organizers of the governor’s deer hunt…and it was on his farm in an elevated stand,” Branstad said Wednesday during The Associated Press Legislative Forum at the statehouse. “…This buck came out and then he started to run and (Hurley) called him almost like you would call a duck and it got him to stop and that was just perfect for me to shoot, then, instead of trying to shoot (the deer) when he was running.”
Branstad noted Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds also got a buck while hunting with her husband in Decatur County on New Year’s Day. It was the first deer Reynolds has ever shot.
“And my husband had to show me up and get a bigger one,” Reynolds said, laughing.
Kevin Reynolds is an avid hunter who uses both a bow and arrow as well as a muzzleloader to hunt for deer. He had his wife take two practice shots with the muzzleloader before they set out.
“We were at home and he drew me a picture of a deer on a piece of paper and he put an X where I was supposed to shoot it,” Reynolds said, laughing. “And I did it.”
Reynolds and her husband give away deer meat to neighbors in the Osceola area, but she has made dried deer jerky at home and some of the meat is ground up for use in soups.
“If I’m bringing food to a party, we feel like we need to label it,” Reynolds said.
And Branstad isn’t averse to serving wild game to guests in the governor’s mansion.
“My very first year as governor I participated in the one-shot antelope hunt in Lander, Wyoming. We made that antelope into sausage and I served it to the legislators at a legislative reception at Terrace Hill,” Branstad said, laughing.
Branstad’s wife isn’t wild about having the stuffed heads hanging around the house, so what remains of the antelope Branstad shot in 1983 is displayed on the wall in the governor’s statehouse office, soon to be joined by the head of the 10-point buck.