After a tense third Republican presidential debate, four presidential candidates traveled to Iowa to join Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) on a traditional pheasant hunt near the Hole N’ the Wall lodge outside Akron. King holds the hunt every year on the opening weekend of the season and it is seen as friendly meetup for Republican politicians. Guests included Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, although Jindal arrived too late to take part in the hunt. The Saturday hunt was not exactly just for pleasure though—political experts said that all the presidential candidates there were courting for King’s endorsement.

“I may be hunting in Iowa but it will be for swing votes up north in October of 2016,” Cruz reportedly joked with King during the hunt. “Who knows. We may have a big enough lead that come October, we figure this [hunting] is the best thing we can do.”

According to ABC News, Cruz is coming off a recent win at the third Republican presidential debates after he criticized both the moderators and the media for not focusing on what he called “substantive issues.” Following the debate, Cruz recieved so much traffic and donations on his website that it crashed. In less than 22 hours, Cruz’s campaign raised $1.1 million. The Texas Senator found himself campaigning in Iowa on Saturday and joined the hunt late, but still managed to down two pheasants. The group of 20 hunters called off the hunt before Jindal could arrive, but they did share in grilling up some pheasants before the candidates went on their way.

Despite the charged atmosphere, participants agreed that the hunt was a good place for the candidates to set politics aside and focus on hunting for a change.

“It’s a good way for us to come together, especially since we agree on how the country should be moving forward,” King told the Globe Gazette regarding the hunt.

You can watch an interview with Cruz below:

https://youtu.be/vO8WqjFok0U

Image from Twitter

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