Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

Senator defends Cheney's pheasant hunt
The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - When Dick Cheney and a hunting party that included several Texas Republicans, among them Sen. John Cornyn, bagged hundreds of ring-necked pheasants at a private hunting club in Pennsylvania last week, animal-rights activists denounced it as a slaughter.

They were especially outraged that the vice president shot more than 70 himself. But Cornyn said Wednesday that the birds had a sporting chance, even if they were farm-raised and released from nets for the hunters.

"It was a good shoot," said Cornyn, who figures he shot dozens of pheasants himself. He conceded that bagging the birds was so easy, at times it seemed "kind of like how Tyson's and Pilgrim's Pride and other people do it. … I must tell you that people don't necessarily hunt the same way in Texas that they hunt in Ligonier, Penn., but it was enjoyable," he said.

Two major Republican donors from Dallas, investor Jeffrey Marcus and investment banker Daniel Cook, hosted the Dec. 8 outing at the exclusive Rolling Rock Club in southwestern Pennsylvania, Cornyn said. Real estate executive and former Dallas Cowboy Roger Staubach was there, too. Marcus declined to discuss the trip; the others did not return phone messages.

Cheney hunts and fishes often, and his excursions rarely attract notice. But on this one, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the 10-man hunting party killed 417 of 500 pheasants released from nets for the morning hunt.

The Humane Society of the United States says that smacks of a mass killing.

"These birds were just planted right in front of this group of hunters. It was a bloodbath and it was a blaze of shotgun fire," said senior vice president Wayne Pacelle.

Cheney is known as a skilled hunter, and The New York Times picked up the story this week, tweaking him as someone who shouldn't need the sort of stacked odds a preserve like Rolling Rock can provide.

Cheney aides did not return messages. Rolling Rock chief operating officer Steve Klee said club policy precludes him from discussing patrons or anything else at the 10,000-acre facility. "I can't talk about the club activities at all," he said.

One dog handler did describe the hunt for WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh last week, though he could not be reached this week and another employee declined to say if he still works there.

"We release pheasants off a hill, and they shoot them. They all stay in their blinds up ahead of us. The other guys like me, we have our dogs and we run them. We stand below [the hunters], and every bird they shoot, our dogs retrieve them," said the handler, Scott Wakefield.

When pheasants are in season, which they weren't last week, Pennsylvania sets a two per-day bag limit. Those rules don't apply at Rolling Rock and the state's 358 other private and commercial hunting clubs.

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