Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters After Duck Hunting Near Cotton Plant, Arkansas

January 03, 1995

The President. Good morning, everybody.

Q. Was it a fair fight?

The President. Two for two. We only saw two.

Q. You've got two there?

The President. Yep.

Q. Is that the limit?

The President. No, but it was our limit today because it's all we saw.

Q. And are you responsible for their demise, sir?

The President. Yes, I shot them both. They let me shoot them, so I shot them.

Q. It's cold and it's wet out there. Where's the fun part?

The President. Well, the most fun part is just being out there when the light comes up and seeing the ducks come across. We had a lot of geese, too. You know, the geese fly in these huge V formations; they're really beautiful.

And we all shot them with weapons, I might add, that were not affected by the crime bill, except they were protected.

Q. What kind of weapons?

The President. We all had our different shotguns. But I just want to make that point to all the sports men and women who are watching this. Contrary to what some of them were told in the last election, we're all still hunting and nobody has lost their gun. And we did the right thing to ban the assault weapons.

But I had a great time out there today. The best thing, like I said, about it today was just watching—on a cloudy day like this the ducks can see the hunters, so they're less likely to come down in large numbers, but we saw a huge number of them flying around. It was quite beautiful.

Q. Are they fooled by the duck calls?

The President. On a clear day, the duck calls help.

Q. Can we hear your technique?

The President. The duck call? No. I got this— this duck call is made in Stuttgart, Arkansas, which is close to here, where they have the international duck calling championship every year. And the man that made this call is now the mayor of the city.

Q. Does it work?

The President. It works fine.

Q. Six dollars at the Wal-Mart.

[At this point, a reporter blew a duck call.]

The President. Do it! Do it! [Laughter]

Q. What do you think?

The President. A little more down here. [Laughter]

Q. I'm from Brooklyn.

The President. For Brooklyn, it's good. [Laughter]

Q. Do you feel like you're really on vacation now, sir?

The President. Yes—well, I wish I had a little more time to spend. But it was wonderful. We had a great time out there, and I'm here with some old friends.

Q. The male bonding kind of thing?

The President. Well, the guys I was here with, the ones I was here with today, we bonded a long time ago. They may be interested in unbonding. [Laughter]

Q. Do you eat the ducks?

The President. Oh, yes. Yes, we're just trying to figure—I'm sitting here trying to figure out how I can get them back to the White House.

Q. Do you clean them?

The President. No, not lately I haven't. When I was younger I did that. I probably—maybe I'll do it again.

Q. How far off are they when you shoot them?

The President. How far were these away?

Hunter. The white one was a long way.

The President. One of them was—how far were they, Bob?

Bob Robinson. Oh, anywhere from 70 to 80 yards. The President made two great shots.

The President. I got lucky today.

Q. And who retrieves them?

The President. Actually, Bob went out and— no, you didn't go. They went out—we had a boat and got them today. Sometimes you have dogs get them but today we—people retrieved them in a flat-bottom boat. But it was a wonderful morning.

[At this point, the President left the reporters to speak with his fellow hunters. He then resumed speaking with reporters.]

The President. We didn't see many today, but we got two shots. There were a couple more that came in close, but they came in so fast that we weren't ready. But these were really the only two we could shoot at. And I had the charity—this crew over there, they all sat there and let me shoot at it. [Laughter]

Q. Are you glad to be home?

The President. Yes. I really started feeling like a person when I was about 5 minutes out on the water today.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 9 a.m. at the Robinson farm. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters After Duck Hunting Near Cotton Plant, Arkansas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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