Honors Presidents Most Active in Hunting, Fishing & Shooting
In honor of the upcoming Presidential election, Sportsman Channel has released its Great Eight “Sportsman” U.S. Presidents. The complete list can be found below as well as online at http://www.thesportsmanchannel.com/presidents/, where users can vote on their favorite “Sportsman” President as well as find additional information and photos. Sportsman Channel’s Great Eight “Sportsman” U.S. Presidents are as follows: 1) Theodore Roosevelt; 2) Grover Cleveland; 3) George Washington; 4) Herbert Hoover; 5) Andrew Jackson; 6) Chester A. Arthur; 7) Dwight Eisenhower; and 8) Calvin Coolidge.
1) Theodore Roosevelt: Our 26th President Theodore Roosevelt is well known as an avid outdoorsman and hunter – more so than any other U.S. President – and he tops our list at No. 1. His love of nature and wild animals ultimately led to the creation of the name “Teddy Bear” – yes, those adorable stuffed animals. During a bear hunt, a guide forcibly restrained an old bear, after it had been wounded, making it an easy kill for the President. Roosevelt vehemently protested saying this poor animal would not be killed for sport, as it clearly wasn’t a fair hunt. A New York toymaker heard the heart-warming story and then produced the “Teddy Bear”.
Roosevelt first began his love for hunting when he was only 14. He had quite the passion for exploration and hunting, and he felt most natural and at ease out in the wilderness. He hunted all types of animals and traveled all over in search of game, including Colorado, the Dakota Territory, Maine and Africa, where he brought back many exotic animals for the Smithsonian. An accomplished writer, he penned numerous books on hunting and the wilderness, including Hunting Trips of a Ranchman. He also had a profound influence on the American West and land conversation, establishing national parks and setting aside more than 125 million acres for national forests. His political efforts led to the creation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as saved such treasures as Devils Tower, the Grand Canyon, and the Petrified Forest. His decisions and actions helped to save entire species from probable extinction through his aggressive efforts about declining American wildlife.
Teddy is famous for his saying, “Bully!” which meant “wonderful” or “superb”. Companions and fellow hunters said “Bully” was enthusiastically shouted during many of Teddy’s outdoor adventures – as well as around the White House.
2) Grover Cleveland: At 5’11” and almost 250 pounds the term “Sportsman” doesn’t seem to relate to our 22nd and 24th President – but a Sportsman he was indeed. Cleveland was an active outdoorsman, loving spending time camping, deer stalking, shooting, and fresh and saltwater fishing. Some hint that for him fishing was an absolute obsession. He not only loved the sport but the entire fish species, devoting much time to reading and learning about their traits and habits. It has been said that he fished almost daily during the 1890s, bringing some criticism from the press. In 1902 he wrote a book on fishing and another of his joys, game shooting: Fishing & Shooting Sketches. A fine wing shot, Cleveland was also handy with a gun and on the hunt, often sitting in a duck blind from dawn to dusk, forgoing any rest. Although more skilled at duck hunting, Cleveland considered quail hunting to be the most satisfying of all… next to fishing, of course.
3) George Washington: It’s well known that our first President was a military man and outdoorsman. General George Washington was quite familiar with firearms and ammunition, as well as the strategy behind both. He was commanding officer of the Contential Army and our first true national general. He was an excellent horseman and rode often, especially across his thousands of acres of land, as well as during his military career. Most don’t know, however, that Washington’s favorite outdoor pastime was fox hunting on his land and along the Potomac River and its tributaries. Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, was more than 8,000 acres, affording him much land on which he rode his horses, hunted and fished. He also hunted duck and enjoyed fishing, both salt and fresh water. Washington was a physical specimen for these times – abnormally tall and strong – and was naturally adept for the outdoors. His physical stature helped him on frontier expeditions, during military battles, and while maintaining and hunting his land until his death at 67.
4) Herbert Hoover: America’s 31st President loved the outdoors and was happiest among nature, especially if that involved a fishing pole. Hoover had a lifelong passion for fishing that traces back to his childhood. He fished all across North America from California to Oregon to Key West to North Carolina. The President even had a getaway camp on the Upper Rapidan River in Virginia where he could steal away for trout fishing and much needed political escape. A year before his death at the age of 91, he published Fishing for Fun – and to Wash Your Soul. He also wrote A Remedy for Disappearing Game Fishers, published in 1930, to advocate for game fish conservation. He was known for promoting the relaxing, life-enhancing benefits of fishing. Hoover is credited with many great fishing quotes including the following: “Next to prayer, fishing is the most personal relationship of man.”
5) Andrew Jackson: Our 7th U.S. President makes our list in the “shooting” category – perhaps infamously in many ways. Jackson was a true military man familiar and fond of guns. “Old Hickory” was known for being tough-as-nails and wild – “a rough backwoodsman” – some in Congress would later recall. Jackson would often tell his military men: “Stand to your guns. Don’t waste your ammunition, and see that every shot tells.” He was also an expert horseman; bred horses and raced them. Known for dueling, legend put his duels at 100 while historians say it was really around 15. Once in a duel, he got hit right in the chest, two inches from his heart. He didn’t even fall, merely aimed his weapon and killed his opponent. The bullet couldn’t be removed and remained in his chest his entire life. He was also the first known target of a presidential assassination attempt. The man approached Jackson with two pistols, both of which misfired. According to some accounts, Jackson proceeded to beat him senseless with his cane.
6) Chester A. Arthur: The 21st U.S. President Chester A. Arthur was a skilled and avid fisherman, especially at fly fishing. He belonged to the Restigouche Salmon Club, a group of New York anglers who fished in Canada. His love of fishing made him the subject of many political cartoons of the day that poked fun at his frequent fishing trips. He was famous for his salmon fly-fishing technique and he held an Atlantic salmon record of 50lbs along the Cascapedia River in Canada. Arthur, along with his media coverage, helped increase the popularity of fishing in the country during his time in office. “There is nothing I loved more than fishing for salmon,” said Arthur.
7) Dwight Eisenhower: A fly caster and fine angler, our 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower shared a love of fishing throughout his life, from childhood to his military years to the nation’s presidency. While President, he frequented Camp David to fish for trout, as well as at his friend’s ranch in Fraser, Colorado. And he fished all over the United States and in Argentina. Knowing his passion for fishing, hundreds of constituents sent him gifts of flies, rods and reels. “There are three sports I like for all the same reasons – golf, fishing and shooting – because they take you into the fields…they induce you to take at any one time two or three hours, when you are thinking of the bird, the ball or the wily trout. Now, to my mind, it is a very healthy and beneficial thing, and I do it whenever I get a chance,” said Eisenhower.
8) Calvin Coolidge: Our 30th President spent three summers away from Washington on fishing getaways. Although hard to imagine in today’s political environment, the President took the summers of 1926-28 – for up to eight consecutive weeks at a time — with his family at beautiful, relaxing places with one thing in common: Good fishing. From the Adirondacks to South Dakota to Wisconsin, most of his summers were spent fishing and fly fishing. Often the President was lured by locals to certain vacation spots, with locals going as far as stocking streams to ensure plenty of fish. Although not at first an avid fisherman, his secret service agent introduced him to fishing and he was hooked. According to one historical account, a member of the press once asked President Coolidge, “Can you tell me what they’re biting on?” President Coolidge replied, “The end of my line.”
Image courtesy Sportsman Channel