October 27, 2017
NSSF Q&A: U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)
Editor’s Note: We are pleased to post the latest of our occasional Q&A features with an elected official who supports hunting and the shooting sports. NSSF thanks Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) for agreeing to talk with us.
Who introduced you to hunting/the shooting sports and at what age?
My dad, Don Rounds, and John and Karl Kouth took me out hunting with them when I was 3 or 4 years old. John was the man who raised my dad. As a kid, I remember this time when my mom used a single-shot 20-gauge to hit a target that dad had put on the side of a cardboard box in the farmyard and everyone was worried if she’d be able to handle the recoil or not!
I was born on the opening weekend of pheasant hunting season in 1954, and my dad still reminds me that I messed up his hunt. I remind him that was his fault! My four kids all hunt, and some of our older grandkids are looking forward to taking the hunter safety course.
What was your most recent shooting sports/hunting activity? With whom?
I shot clay pigeons with members of my family in May out at our farm in South Dakota. Opening weekend for pheasant hunting in South Dakota started on Oct. 21, and I was happy to be able to participate in that.
Describe your favorite shooting sport/hunting activity? Which hunt? Which gun? Where? What species?
I love pheasant hunting and that’s mainly what I hunt, but I also enjoy grouse hunting. I used to do a lot of duck and goose hunting, but because of how busy we’ve been in the Senate I don’t get to do that as often anymore. I also like to deer hunt when I have the opportunity, but my boys hunt deer more often than I do now.
For a shotgun, I prefer my 12-gauge Beretta 391, semiautomatic with a 26-inch barrel and improved cylinder.
What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts in this congressional session?
I think there’s an opportunity in the upcoming farm bill to promote the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which is critical for wildlife management and habitat. I think one of the most important things we do as sportsmen is to continue to promote the use of CRP acres for wildlife management. It’s good for farmers because it provides them with an additional source of income, it’s good for the federal budget because it’s a known price versus crop insurance, which could be expensive for the marginal acres, and it’s good for sportsmen because it creates excellent habitats for deer, pheasant and waterfowl to nest.