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Guest Blog

A meeting with Bruce Rauner

Fri, August 22, 2014

rauner and brent and kevin

ABOVE: Illinois Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner (center) meets with members of the Illinois Whitetail Alliance. At left is former Department of Natural Resources director Brent Manning. At right is IWA president Kevin Chapman.


Last Saturday afternoon the Illinois Whitetail Alliance met with Bruce Rauner in East Peoria to evaluate his position on the residing Illinois Department of Natural Resources and its negligent management of our state’s deer herd. Skeptical, of any opposing party candidate who might make hollow promises – as did Governor Blagojevich and Quinn – we found Rauner down to earth and believable.

Rauner was raised on an Illinois dairy farm and rose to the ranks of well-to-do in the business world through his own efforts…hard work and sound ethics. He and his wife Diana have six kids; they are teaching them the same work ethics they grew up with. Rauner has never been in politics. Two years ago he decided things needed to change in a state where more than 50% of the residents would move from if possible. Today, two years later, a poll suggests that 65% of residents would move out of state. Sad!

At the dinner table, discussing with his family whether to run for governor, his youngest daughter advised him not to run. Her reasoning:  “Dad, I don’t want you to go to prison.”

This depressing history of Illinois’ felony governors would tell any prospective resident or business to look elsewhere. One only needs to study the history or our Natural Resource Department since Blagojevich and Quinn have been top dogs to understand that wildlife, parks and natural resources of this once great state have taken a back seat to the pork-barrel spending and special interest groups.

When asked what he would specifically do to improve the IDNR, he initially expressed his love of the Illinois outdoors. Bruce Rauner is an avid hunter, having taken many deer since his youth. He and his family hike and fish and truly understand the importance of this state’s natural resources. 

First, he stated, he would evaluate all IDNR management positions and replace any one not qualified to do their assigned job. He suggested that many of IDNR appointed managers were never capable of doing what they were hired for, and thus have failed to deliver. He stated that regardless of whether it is the management of deer or any natural resource, he would assign “qualified people” in those fields to ensure that our natural resources received the expertise and attention they deserve. He fully comprehends the need to balance sound resource management with sportsmen opinion.

Rauner stated that he and his family will move to Springfield in the Governor’s Mansion, which now is unoccupied and in need of repair. Is Bruce Rauner a God-sent to Illinois…to our natural resources and our deer herd? The bigger question: Could he possibly be worse than what we have now?


My how the story changes.  It was just a few months ago that one of his bio’s stated he occasionally visited his Grandfathers dairy farm, sometimes shooting and even hunting.  Now he was raised on it AND an avid hunter.
Colonel, could you check to see if he’s ever had a hunting/fishing/sportsman license in Illinois?  In any state?
True, he hasn’t run for office before.  However, he has been involved in politics, donating to both parties.  His wife is heavily involved in Chicago Democratic politics.  He and his wife are reportedly very close friends of Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago’s rabidly anti-2nd Amendment mayor.

How well I remember Tim Grounds, the World renowned goose calling champion and guide, going around the state crowing that Blagojevich would be the best thing that ever happened for Illinois DNR.  Remember how that turned out?

Posted by riverrat47 on August 22

I’m afraid he is only a RINO.  He will get my vote since I plan on voting against Quinn.

Posted by buckbull on August 22

Regardless of his background, he is getting my vote simply because Quinn needs to go.  Quinn had his chance to do something and now its time for somebody new and Rauner is our only choice.  Give him 4 years and see what happens.

Posted by mountain man on August 22

RiverRat47, I’m SHOCKED you didn’t comment on the politician campaigning on the left of the picture. The one that comes out of the rotten wood pile every four years.

Posted by walmsley on August 22

You are correct, Tim.  I should be flogged on the town square for failing to mention that there was Rauner in earnest conversation with the same individual who handed deer outfitters the Illinois deer herd, on a silver platter.  No doubt in my mind that old bent was lobbying Bruce for something for himself, not the IWA.  And that brings to mind, has Les forgotten that the very person everyone is railing about was brought in by manning to manage the deer program?

Posted by riverrat47 on August 22

No politician can be trusted on his or her word alone.  No politician should ever get anyone’s vote on one issue alone. 

We never elected a felon, but have ended up with them; we have no way of knowing how Rauner will fare in the corrupt labyrinth of Illinois politics. We don’t have anything but the same platitudes from Rauner and failure from Quinn.  Not much choice this time around.

Posted by shooter49 on August 22

Hey you know you can bash and critisize all you want but the bottom line is The IWA seems to be looking at all angles in regards to better deer management. It can’t get much worse and I think approaching Rauner was a good idea.  Yes Quinn needs to go.

Posted by hunter4life on August 22

For the IWA to be successful they must explore all angles and approaching Rauner is one of those angles. Not being from Ill. and reading some of the responses to Les’s article one could assume that if say Riverrat47’s response has merit then it would sound that Rauner is already a politician talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. If in fact he and his wife are friends with a anti-second amendment mayor should cause for concern.  Having said that, based on the leadership the ILDNR has had in the past, from the governor on down and the lack of proper wildlife and it would seem to me that a change should be welcomed, can it be any worse!! Also he commented that he would ” evaluate all management positions and replace those not capable of doing their job” Based on present management if he does that who will be making the decisions, all mangers will be gone. As a NR hunter in Illinois and a friend of Les Davenport, I truly hope the IWA is successful in getting the proper management back in place the great state of Illinois deserves!! Les, keep up the good work!!!!

Posted by VAhunter on August 22

riverrat47: I don’t think I need to run a check on Rauner. I was not at this meeting but I have met with him on 2 occasions now. One of the times I had him for almost an hour without any of his staff around him. At that meeting when he said he was a hunter I point blank interrupted him and asked him what he hunts: He said that his first love was bird hunting then told me the names and breeds of his hunting dogs and asked me if I wanted to debate the issue of Setters vs Brits as far as their hunting abilities. When a man puts his dogs and their names in an answer like he did convinces me the man is a hunter.

He has done his research on the DNR and was well informed about the problems. And riverrat47 Central Management Services has a bullseye on them in a Rauner administration. He fully understands what a drag on state government they are and how full of corruption they are.

Posted by The Colonel on August 22

Glad to hear that he IS actually a hunter and is aware of the issues facing the department. 
To see CMS with a bullseye on their back would be a welcome sight.  I’ll have to see it to believe it. 
That still leaves his wife’s alignment with the Chicago Democratic machine and his reported close friendship with Rahm Emmanuel.  That alone is enough to make this life-long Republican to waiver.
Except for party alignment, Rauner has a striking resemblance to walking Dan Walker…a total unknown, coming from the business world and promising to shake up state government.  Under walking Dan, there was 4 years of total chaos, a DOC director who was a draft dodger (tony dean), leaving the DOC in disarray and morale in the toilet.

Posted by riverrat47 on August 22

Sometimes when they say im gonna get rid of the unqualified deadwood, it just means im going to put my own bunch of deadwood in, sorry to be such a skeptic.

Posted by joecarver on August 22

In the time of Manning’s directorship, I, too butted heads with him on a few things. He, unlike Miller, listened…instead of kissed the butt of Quinn. If you have some clue that he wants to be Director again…you’re nuts. He’s retired and his only motivation for being a part of IWA is to help Illinois’ deer herd. In regard to Shelton, my opinion only, if you had this guy as a neighbor…you’d probably like him. As a deer manager…he is clueless. He obviously fooled IDNR people at his interview years ago, and I can tell you Manning had his boot in Shelton’s butt in the last year or two before Blago got in. I worked at CAT for many year, in management, and it’s darn near impossible to fire worthless program managers like Shelton; he simply has a rat mentality about deer. Forget badmouthing Manning, IWA or other deer hunters. Join IWA at www.ilwhitetailalliance.com and let’s all pull on the same side of the rope. In regard to Rauner…it can’t get any worse than Quinn, Miller and Shelton.

Posted by loveofthehunt on August 23

In addition, here’s some inside information, strong opinion from someone in the know: Rahm Emanuel and Rauner are undeniably friends and business partners. Emanuel is pulling for Rauner, under the table, due to broken promises by Quinn. Three of the largest, Democratic Baptist churches (multi-thousand memberships)have changed to Rauner supporters because of broken promises by Quinn. It is highly likely Rauner will be our new governor. Even if, by chance, Quinn gets back in, word is that Miller is gone and probably Shelton with him (Shelton will be either moved to sweeping floors or forced to retire…not that he has not been semi-retired. So you deer hunters out there who keep echoing counterproductive criticism, on this site, need to zip it or step up to the plate with a real bat. The IWA is meeting tomorrow to revise its five points. We’ve listened to a wide variety of deer hunters and more clearly understand how some of our points need to be re-written. Our only purpose is a more well- managed, very regionally studied deer herd. That’s the only thing that counts, guys and gals. For without this, in the face of past poor deer management and EHD/Blue Tongue/CWD, we will have no use for bows other than shooting Asian carp.

Posted by loveofthehunt on August 23

I’m so disappointed with the leadership of the ILDNR as well as the entire State of IL. We would be much better off going back to the way things were with a Dept of Conservation instead of pooling all our resources in the DNR. The forming of the ILDNR was the beginning of the end for Illinois sportsmen. Appointing butt kissing “leaders” within the DNR that are more about political clout and have never gotten their boots muddy or hands bloody is wrong in every way.

The DNR needs to promote from within, not appoint family members of political backers. We need leaders that are respected from WITHIN the DNR and with the end users (ie, “us”) that have a vision for the future success of our wildlife management regardless of it’s deer management or improving fish management for a specific lake.

I could go on and on about how stupid Illinois’ DNR manages it resources and rips off it’s end users. For example, why do we have to buy deer gun permits and turkey permits based on a specific county? And then on top of that for turkey throw in five different seasons and it just make no sense.  Look at Missouri, buy a tag over the counter and it’s good for two toms the entire season anywhere in the state.

I would hope that Rauner would be a better choice than Quinn but I hate voting for a candidate just because I dislike the other. Maybe it’s just my distrust of anybody from the Chicago area when it comes to politicians. I’m getting so tired of the toxic leadership of this state…...

Posted by ToddC on August 23

Being a NR hunter, I am concerned how the ILDNR manages their resources as it will effect my experiences in Ill in the future. Being the son of a Wildlife MGR with the WV DNR I would go with dad to many public meetings held by the DNR, one of which the arguments got so bad the sheriff’s Dept. had to be called. The arguments were not between hunters and the DNR personnel but between hunters.  What was accomplished, absolutely nothing!!
That very same results will happen in Ill. if hunters keep bickering between themselves instead of getting behind and supporting the IWA and their efforts to influence and execute change in laws, management decisions and yes even the people making the decisions.  The ole adage, their is power in numbers is very true, so join and support the IWA to get the right qualified people in the right position, making the right decisions to get your great whitetail herd back where it once was!!!!!

Posted by VAhunter on August 24

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