Jesse Ventura Hunting Remarks Draw Fire

ByABC News
April 6, 2001, 2:42 PM

S T.  P A U L, April 6 -- Gov. Jesse Ventura is taking some hits from hunters and conservationists for comparing recreational hunting to "hunting man" in wartime.

"I know dozens of hunters who served their country in war anddon't go around making a big deal about the fact they hunted man,"said Mike Furtman, a Duluth hunter and conservationist. "Theydon't equate shooting someone in defense of your country withhunting animals. It's borderline psychotic to make that leap."

On Tuesday, Ventura summoned outdoors columnist Dennis Andersonof the Star Tribune of Minneapolis to his office for an hourlongdressing down, aided by Ventura's natural resources commissionerand other officials.

In the confrontation, Ventura fell back on his militarybackground as he lambasted the columnist for questioning hiscommitment to conservation.

If You Havent Hunted Man, You Havent Hunted

"And I'll just tell you this: Until you've hunted man, youhaven't hunted yet," Ventura told Anderson. "Because you need tohunt something that can shoot back at you to really classifyyourself as a hunter. You need to understand the feeling of whatit's like to go into the field and know your opposition can takeyou out. Not just go out there and shoot Bambi."

During his weekly radio show Friday, Ventura said he didn't meanto offend anyone with the comments.

"I don't oppose hunting in any way, shape or form. If that'swhat you enjoy doing, you are free to do it," Ventura said. "It'sjust those were my personal opinions. I think we're all entitled tothem and I'm not going to change because I'm a governor."

Ventura often invokes his background as a Navy SEAL during theVietnam War era but has never revealed what he actually did duringthe war, or whether he saw combat.

Spokesman: Ventura Meant No Harm

On Thursday, Ventura spokesman John Wodele said the governor"meant no harm to anyone or didn't mean to insult anyone. Inno way did the governor insinuate it as a stab at hunters. It was away for the governor to explain his personal experiences. It's hislife experiences he can call upon most readily."