When he’s not proposing the nation scale back on its national monuments, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is brainstorming how he can get his department more into hunting and fishing. In a statement released Tuesday, a solution was announced: the arcade hunting game Big Buck Hunter would do. This foray into the world of digital hunting was announced four days after the Trump administration announced its intention to expand hunting access onto public lands, so at least the secretary is staying on-brand.
The statement released by the Department of the Interior says that Big Buck Hunter will help “reemphasize hunting and fishing at the Department” and that the use of the game by employees will further “the Department’s mission of wildlife and habitat conservation.” The New York Times described the game in 2011 as one that “enjoys a rabid following among trendy urbanites who most likely have never held a gun” so the idea that Big Buck Hunter will connect humans to actual wildlife is an interesting one.
Secretary Zinke also announced that there will be a “Secretary’s Shotgun Showdown,” where employees can compete for “bragging rights” and the opportunity to hang out with him. Those looking for a job at the Interior Department and a friendship with Zinke should note that this competition runs from Tuesday to October 11.
“Some of my best memories are hunting and fishing with my dad and grandad, and then later teaching my own kids to hunt and fish,” Zinke’s statement reads. “The ‘Shotgun Showdown’ will help reignite the passion and emphasis of hunting and fishing at the Department and will be a fun way to advance our mission of wildlife and habitat conservation.”
How exactly the “Shotgun Showdown” will advance conservation is not described, but the press release does note that the first person to compete against the secretary was U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee, Casey Stemler. A winner was not announced.
Zinke’s has really stuck to his love of hunting and fishing while in office: On his first day, he reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands. The former Congressional Representative from Montana also wants increased logging on public lands and doesn’t seem to really get how climate change works.