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Santorum hunts pheasants in NW Iowa

Alex Moe/NBC News

Rick Santorum joins Rep. Steve King for a pheasant hunt Sunday morning in NW Iowa.

MERRILL, Iowa -- Just a few hours after he spoke before hundreds of influential Iowa conservatives, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum went hunting with a prominent Northwest Iowa Republican.

“It is just fun being out and being with good folks and here in Iowa, I am looking forward to seeing if the birds are as big as they are in Pennsylvania,” Santorum told reporters before his pheasant hunting trip at the Loess Hills Hunting Preserve. “Very excited to be back out here.”

Rep. Steve King, Santorum’s hunting partner for the day, assured the former Pennsylvania senator that Iowa’s birds are big.

The pair ventured on a roughly two-hour hunt with eight others. Santorum, who mentioned he couldn’t bring one of his own guns, used King’s.

“I am looking forward today to go out and exercise our Second Amendment right and build some camaraderie out here,” King said.

“Amen,” Santorum -- sporting a green jacket, jeans, and boots -- jumped in. “I’m looking forward to that too.”

The other Rick in the race, Gov. Rick Perry, joined Rep. King for a pheasant hunt yesterday. King has not decided if he will endorse a candidate for president but if he does, it will be a matter of “conviction.”

“Everyone would make a better president than the one we have,” King said Sunday.

Santorum also commented on what he saw as President Obama’s inability to secure amnesty for American soldiers in Iraq, saying that shows him “we have lost a lot of ground there.”

“The concern I think a lot of us have is that we're leaving, and we're leaving behind a situation where Iran has just dramatically grown influence in that country,” the former senator said. “That is not the kind of victory I think anyone would have liked to have seen when Barack Obama came into office."

Santorum has four more events today and concludes his three-day swing of Iowa tomorrow, with seven events.