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Archive for December 12th, 2010

Pete Bodo: Palin’s Show Emmy-Worthy for Its Honesty, Modesty, and Portrayal of Hunting

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 12, 2010

Pete Bodo, author of “Whitetail Nation: My Season in Pursuit of the Monster Buck”, reacts to the controversy over the hunting episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska:

Palin’s hunt opens the window on a fiercely beloved (mostly) rural tradition with surprising grace and sensitivity (as demonstrated by the inclusion of those can’t-miss extras, like the red-tailed hawk in flight, roiled skies, and campfire banter). The show is often touching, not least because of the father-daughter bonding elements that seem staged in direct proportion to the degree of animosity you feel toward Palin. I feel none, so they work for me.

Some critics accused Palin and her companions (Chuck Sr. and his fellow geezer and hunting buddy, Steve Becker) of hunting on a “game farm.” Well, if that’s how you want to describe the glorious 19.2 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (where hunting is permitted and regulated), it’s okay by me. But the reality is that Palin flew into a rough camp run by Susan Aikens (a woman whose head had once been inside the jaws of a grizzly bear). Like most outfitters, Aikens offers logistical support and a jumping-off point for outdoors recreationists, including hunters, birdwatchers and backpackers.

Much was made of the fact that Palin fired six shots before she dropped her caribou, and that the animal didn’t run away. But a hunter knows that shots in open country (and the Alaskan tundra is like a boreal prairie) tend to be fairly long-range, influenced by wind, and their sound is easily swallowed up by the sheer openness of the land. Also, animals (and people) in most environments generally can’t accurately pinpoint the origin of a shot. Missed shots on open ground? We’ve all been there.

Truly wild animals, like those in the Refuge, don’t even associate the sound of gunfire with danger (they have far greater daily worries, like wolves). Caribou are also famous for being – there’s no other way to put it – seemingly dumb (of course they’re smart in their own way). You hunt caribou mainly to experience where they live and the delights there. And where exactly is the caribou supposed to run, in wide open country that stretches for miles in every direction? Palin did what all caribou hunters do – she walked a lot, glassed a lot (with binoculars), and succeeded in getting close enough to take a responsible shot.

Palin also was ridiculed for emptying the five-shot magazine of the gun her father had provided for the hunt, after which she dropped the caribou with the first shot she took using Becker’s rifle. I confess to having felt a bit puffed up when, after Palin finally made her killing shot, I thought back to a previous scene, in which Chuck Palin took a tumble down a loose bank with his gear and rifle. “The scope (telescopic sight) must have gotten knocked off zero,” I thought (“zero” being the point were the bullet goes exactly where the crosshairs are centered) as Palin missed her fourth shot.

As we learned near the end of the episode, Chuck’s scope was indeed way off. But give Palin credit here – while her conviction that the scope was off-target was vindicated, she never made a big deal out of it. Scopes take a beating and many things, including bouncing around in the cargo bay of a small plane, can skew their accuracy. It would have been nice to have an explanation, but in the end, who knows? And, really, who cares?

Some also objected to the way Chuck Palin worked the bolt after each shot taken by his daughter, interpreting it as a sure sign of her incompetence. Well, Palin’s obvious, basic familiarity with the rifle, and her decent form handling it, were sufficient to make me think that was nothing more than a typical “daddy knows best” moment. Hunters, guides, parents – we all get excited at the moment of reckoning. And only someone who’s never handled a rifle would suspect that Palin doesn’t know how to work a bolt. It isn’t rocket science, trust me on that.

But it’s depressing to have to parse the video episode this way. What, is Sarah Palin on trial here? The critics mostly demonstrate how woefully little they know about hunting, firearms, and the natural world in general, despite the “green” vows they’ve taken.

I’m a hunter, and to me Palin’s show was Emmy-worthy for its honesty, modesty, and it’s effective portrayal and celebration of the hunting experience. My favorite moment: When Palin’s daughter, Piper, gazing at the pile of meat on the family table in Wasilla, chimes in, “Mom, that’s a tiny caribou.”

True enough. It was a young cow, something most hunters would have passed up, looking for a more impressive trophy. But it was meat for the freezer – and even Piper knew it wasn’t a moose.

h/tp US4Palin

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Governor Palin Visits Cholera Clinic and Addresses Press Conference in Haiti

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 12, 2010

Today was Day 2 of the Samaritan’s Purse humanitarian trip to Haiti.  Sarah, Todd, and Bristol Palin accompanied Franklin Graham and his daughter Cissie Graham Lynch on the trip.  Greta van Susteren and her husband went as well.  Greta will be airing video of the trip on her show Monday night.

Governor Palin and Franklin Graham spoke at a press conference in Haiti today.  The purpose of their trip there was to deliver Christmas gifts to Haitian children, visit the cholera clinics, and raise public awareness of the great need for international assistance to this country which has been sticken so hard by first an earthquake, then a hurricane, and now a cholera epidemic.

Videos:  h/tp C4P

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »