Grover Cleveland found his oasis through fishing and hunting before, during, and after his bustling life as the United States’ 22nd and 24th President.

A little bit of a history recap here: Cleveland, born in New Jersey in 1837 and raised in New York, was the first Democrat elected President in 1885 following the end of the Civil War in 1865. He remains the only President to this date to serve non-consecutive terms, leaving the White House after his defeat in 1889 only to return four years later to serve his second term. Before entering politics, Cleveland worked first as a teacher for the blind, then as a lawyer in Buffalo, where he “became notable for his single-minded concentration” on whatever task he had.

Bearing this image, Cleveland’s political prominence skyrocketed, winning the seat as the Mayor of Buffalo (1881), Governor of New York (1882), and President of the United States in three years. Cleveland ran on a platform of transparency, frugality, and anti-corruption, which seemed like a breath of fresh air in the previous scandal-ridden administrations of US Grant and Andrew Johnson and the assignation of two presidents in just 20 years. Nevertheless, Cleveland issued hundreds of vetoes over special favors and unnecessary Congressional spending that earned him a fair share of political enemies. His clean track record and principle of being an honest politician painted a target on his back, and the press vilified him constantly.

Knowing this, it’s safe to say that Cleveland had it tough as President. I mean, who doesn’t, right? That’s why recreation and relaxation activities are a thing. Most former presidents would spend time outdoors—either as little as hiking around for some fresh air or shooting wild critters—anything that would keep them sane from all the chaos in the political world. And for Cleveland, his favorite recreation was angling and hunting.

Cleveland’s Underrated Life as a Hunter

An article published by the NRA American Hunters tells us the untold story of the hunting life of the 22nd/24th US President.

While he did have experiences on both the big and small game, Cleveland mostly relishes rabbit hunting as he doesn’t really have much success on bigger targets. When he was still a governor, he wrote to his secretary about a missed opportunity during a hunt in the Adirondacks, stating: “I had a beautiful shot at a deer Saturday and missed him. We are now preparing to start again for my last chance.” It will remain a mystery whether he had another chance or not with Adirondacks’ deer.

Grover Cleveland hunting life
In December 1892, President-elect Grover Cleveland went duck hunting on Broadwater Island in Virginia. (Image source: Blogspot)

On rabbit hunting, Cleveland has “rejected the notion” that the game does not give a real challenge, saying: “I am not ashamed of their pursuit; and I count it by no means bad skill to force them by a successful shot to a topsy-turvy pause when at their best speed.”

Imagine Cleveland taking a focused aim, shooting a running rabbit, and then watching it trip and tumble on the ground a few yards from him. Looks savage to me. No? The skill in rabbit hunting was hitting the small but fast-moving target.