Interview: Donald Trump Jr. on Bowhunting
July 27, 2016
It's no secret that Donald Trump Jr. is a bowhunter and an avid outdoorsman. And he makes no apologies for either.
Trump Jr. is also known for promoting a love for the outdoors within his own family and spends a considerable amount of time in the woods and on the water.
Due to his extremely busy work schedule, Donald Trump Jr. does a lot of his bowhunting during the late season when he has time off for the holidays. Because hunting during this time of year can be particularly challenging, Trump said he puts a lot of extra effort into learning the travel corridors and food sources being used by the bucks he is after.
Here's what else he had to say.
Q: It's well known you are quite passionate about hunting. How did it become such an important part of your life?
A: I got into it very young. My grandfather was from Czechoslovakia. He took me over there for six to eight weeks every summer and basically said, "There's the woods; I'll see you at dark." He saw a lot of the benefits I had growing up in New York City, but he also saw some of the pitfalls of that, so he made sure I saw the other side.
In looking back, the best relationships I've made have been at a deer camp or around a campfire. I really look at hunting as a wholesome experience and something that kept me out of a lot of trouble. I'm pretty vocal about [hunting] because if I can get a kid off a couch or away from playing a video game and into the woods, I'm doing them a major service. It's something that's really important in this world where everything's accessible at the push of a button and everything's about 140 characters. Being able to sit back and decompress, to step back and stare at a campfire, is just incredible and I think everyone needs that.
Q: In addition to hunting with a compound, you also enjoy pursuing game with recurves and longbows. Why the strong interest in traditional archery?
A: There's something about the discipline it took to learn to properly shoot a longbow and a recurve and to be accurate, and the skills it takes when hunting to be able get that animal within a 20-yard range as opposed to — if you are going to shoot it with a compound — you can go quite a bit further than that. It was about the challenge of trying to hunt with that kind of gear because it's a lot harder; it takes a lot more time to perfect.
Q: As someone who is well known, you have the opportunity to use your voice to promote issues and causes that are important to sportsmen. What are some of the hunting and conservation organizations and issues you're actively involved with or feel strongly about?
A: I'm an active member of the Boone and Crockett Club; I'm a lifetime member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, DU, NWTF and those type of organizations. For me, perhaps the biggest thing is just being able to lend a voice outside of the hunting community.
As someone who's perhaps a business guy, or a city guy — at least on paper — it's being able to talk about how good the outdoors have been to me and the benefits I've gotten by being in the woods and not being in the city, and promoting that to make sure that it's there for the future generations.
Q: Some of your hunting excursions from recent years have grabbed national headlines. What's the first thing you say to people when they ask why you hunt?
A: I know hunters are the original conservationists. I know without hunters we would not have our national park system going back to the Theodore Roosevelt years. I love being able to share those sort of intimate experiences detached from technology with my friends and with my family. I also like the meat, but it's a very pure form of escape.
Q: Has your father ever tried hunting? Are there any outdoor pursuits he's passionate about?
A: He's a big golfer, and he's a very good golfer; he's a probably a 2 or 3 handicap. That's been his biggest passion. He's a shooter, and he's obviously very vocal on the Second Amendment. He's less of a hunter, but he sees the benefit that it's been for us. He's said, "I'm not (really) a hunter, but I know what it's done for my kids and I respect them doing it."
The big joke around the Christmas and Thanksgiving table was that if there's one thing I ever do in politics in his administration, I'd be in charge of the Department of the Interior because I get that he's not so passionate about it. Politicians are in charge of these [federal and state] departments, but hunters generate so much income for all of these departments. You need some people who are actually hunters sitting on these agencies. It will be about putting people [in there] who really understand the issues and understand the benefits of the North American model of wildlife conservation and how that works, and giving hunters a voice and a say in those decisions in the future.
Q: If your father is elected President, what changes do you see in store for sportsmen?
A: We are going to make sure we protect our natural resources, and we are going to make sure we preserve access [to public lands] — we're going to make sure those things are available [to everyone] — and we're going to make sure the people making these decisions are also hunters and they are thinking about hunters and giving hunters their fair shake.