Annual pheasant hunt honors local hero and draws political attention
AKRON, Iowa (KTIV) -
Opening day for hunting rooster pheasants and Iowa Congressman Steve King is a combination that attracted many people to a Northwest Iowa field on Saturday.
But, this year's annual hunt was dedicated to the man it was named after, Colonel George Bud Day.
For half a dozen years, Western Iowa Congressman Steve King has trudged through this Northwest Iowa field hunting for pheasants, with buddies by his side.
This year is different. It's the first hunting trip since his friend Colonel George "Bud" Day passed away. The decorated war veteran was an avid pheasant hunter who became acquainted with King during the hunt he hosts ever year.
"I admired Bud Day. I loved the man, and his loss, about two months ago, was something that to this day, I'm still surprised at how often I think of him and how much it still hurts," King said.
Chris McGowan started the annual George "Bud" Day pheasant hunt in honor of the decorated war veteran, as a way to attract businesses to the area.
"We did that by offering them an opportunity to hunt with Colonel Bud Day," McGowan said.
The hunt also brought King's comrades from Capitol Hill to Northwest Iowa.
"As I'm doing my job in Washington, I talk to people, and when I said to Ted Cruz, 'How about coming out and hunting some pheasants? And he said, okay,'" King said.
"I'm thrilled to be up in Iowa and thrilled to hunt pheasants on the opening day," U.S. Senator Ted Cruz said.
The hunt attracted Cruz's constituents from Texas, too.
"When we found out that Senator Ted Cruz, our senator was going to be here, we felt like we just had to make this trip," Mike Olcott, of Fort Worth, Texas said.
In the fields, politics takes a pause for the pheasants.
"When you hunt with people, it builds a special bond that's different than other kinds of friendships," King said.
While one of those friends is no longer here, he left a mark that won't soon be forgotten.
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