By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love
Field & Stream has named California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger the winner of the 2008 Heroes & Villains Face-Off—as a villain.
Playing the rake is not new for Gov. Schwarzenegger, whose first turn as the Terminator saw him working to destroy the world instead of saving it. And the governor’s win will not come as any surprise to fishermen in the Golden State, where funding for salmon and steelhead restoration has been dramatically cut despite sharply declining populations for years. During the governor’s tenure, the chinook salmon fishery in California collapsed, and on May 1, 2008, commercial and recreational salmon fishing were both banned along the West Coast in California and much of Oregon.
But the governor has not limited his influence to fish and fishermen. He’s also signed a ban on .50 caliber rifles, and on his watch the percentage of licensed hunters in California has dropped below 1%.
Gov. Schwarzenegger beat out fellow villains Pamela Anderson, Paul McCartney, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, Vladimir Putin, Nancy Giles, Bobby Brown, and Kirt Darner.
Furthermore, Gov. Schwarzenegger proved that villainy can outrank heroism. F&S distinguished Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a hero—she not only endorsed the traditions of sportsmen while campaigning as a vice presidential candidate, she is an active hunter and fisherman herself. Moreover, Amy Poehler rapped about her shooting a moose on Saturday Night Live. What better way to inspire a new generation of hunters?
Country music star Miranda Lambert took hero of the year. She is a hunter who relates her love for the sport in her songs, and who donates game meat to Hunters for the Hungry. Other heroes included Boo Weekly, Eliza Dushku, Emma Watson and Tom Felton of Harry Potter fame, and New York senator Charles Schumer. The senator's selection came as a surprise to many gun owners because of his support for gun control over the years. He got the nod for backing a Farm Bill measure to give farmers grants for opening more land to hunters.
To read more about all of the 2008 F&S heroes and villains, see “A Year in Review: The best (and worst) of hunting and fishing” in the Dec. ’08/Jan. ’09 double issue.