Monday, December 6, 2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska - The Unsafe Outdoors
The wife and I don't watch a lot of the same reality television. I watch hunting shows and action packed shows with cops and weaponry. She like The Real Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and so on. I don't fault her for it, just like she won't fault me for my guilty pleasures. Last night we decided to sit down and watch Sarah Palin's ALASKA together because it combined one of her shows with hunting, my love. This show was an eye-opener into what Sarah Palin considers hunting! It was full of unsafe hunting practices and I had to say something.

So, I sat down with my wife to watch this last night (I would normally being checking out the hunting forums). Instead I was checking out Sarah Palin. Sure, I was checking her out. It's no surprise that I think she's a hottie. Ok, I thought she was until I watched this show. I have now lost that feeling because what I watched was not what I call ethical or smart. I figured it was going to show Sarah hunting and I'd get my wife interested in the sport. Boy was I wrong! All throughout the show I was angered by how unsafe everyone was being. I am not the only one who feels this way. There is also a great blog post by the huntress at Hunt Like You're Hungry. She makes some really great points that I will touch on here.

Over at The Awl, Abe Sauer wrote up a great article about the show. He says this, which I think explains it all.

In this most recent episode, a woman who has blindly championed the NRA and legitimized her frontier-woman status by claiming to be a "lifelong hunter" comes across as anything but.

For starters, Palin and pa head out on a long hunt without bothering to sight in Palin's rifle, a mistake no serious hunter would ever make. Why Palin's dad chose for her a "varmint rifle" for a caribou hunt and why Palin, an admitted "moose hunter," would not question such a gun's appropriateness is never answered.

From there, numerous bungles along the way to finally downing the caribou show a hunting tourist who, at worst, appears to pose a genuine danger to fellow outdoorsmen. 

Watch the clip from the show and then read on.

What isn't shown in this video is before they actually go hunting her dad says he's going to give her the varmint gun because it has less kick. Are you kidding me? A .243 for a caribou at 200 yards? Her dad uses a .30-06, but she's going to use a .243. That's like saying I am going to try to take out a deer with a BB gun. Stupid, just plain stupid and truly unfortunate for the animal.

On the first hunt outing across the tundra her dad falls while using the gun as a walking stick. Barrel up towards the sky and he falls forward. While he was ok, they don't bother checking to see if there is any gun damage. Sarah somehow forgets her rubber boots (that miraculously appear on the second outing). She decides to wade through the ice-cold water in her hiking boots and says the heck with it and gets soaked. She says she knows she's going to regret it later and that she's going to get blisters. That is truly brilliant when you are 14 miles from basecamp and 120 miles from any doctor. What would she have done if she got hypothermia?

The shooting segment of the show was downright scary. Who in their right mind hands a loaded weapon over with the safety off? Sarah can't load her own gun, but she's been hunting with her dad her entire life? Let me see if I have this right. Her dad loads her rifle, hands it to her with the safety off and her finger goes right on the trigger. Sarah, if you had been hunting like you said you had, you'd know how to load a rifle, know when to shoot and you would take your time with it. The finger on the trigger had me up off the couch yelling at the screen. Even my wife (who can shoot a pistol well) knew this was wrong. The head on shot on the caribou pissed me right off. She had to shoot the only animal out there because it seemed like she was just trying to win a bet. She's really showing how to hunt badly and worse off - how unsafe hunting is done. It's appalling that a person of her stature would put this out there! She's an executive producer on the show, so she could have pulled this episode. I honestly don't think she sees anything wrong with the way they all hunted. It was Frightening (the cap 'F' is there for a reason!)

There was more to the show like the fact that none of them wore even a speck of blaze orange. They were worried about bears, yet one guy goes off hunting on his own. They could have put up an electric fence to deter the bears, too. Everything seemed very haphazard and nonchalant. I was not impressed in the least.

All in all, I was more than disappointed, I was angry for the entire airing of the show the way it was done. Unsafe, unethical and put out there just for ratings. There has been a discussion going on over at The Thinking Hunter blog by Galen Greer about 'responsibility in outdoor media.' This was a prime example. I suggest you go over and check it out.

I am done venting. For now anyway. Please share your thoughts on this. I think TLC needs to see it and so does Sarah Palin.


  1. I started to watch this, Al, but quit after ten minutes or so. I did catch some of the clips where she asked if the gun would kick and the part where her dad told his buddy he was taking the varmint rifle for Sarah. To be honest, I'm glad I didn't see the whole thing. A lot of people look up to her and it doesn't sound like it was the right way to represent hunting or hunters. I'm disappointed after reading your take on it. For those of us who hunt, it's easy to spot someone who doesn't really know what they're doing.

  2. More than anything, I hope that it shows hunters the wrong way to do everything. We can only prosper by doing the exact opposite of what Palin did.

    Happy (safe, ethical, proper, etc) hunting!


  3. I sent a follow up email to TLC Viewer Relations to see if they had any comment. We'll see what happens.

  4. I knew right off this was something I'd never want to watch, but that doesn't concern me - what does concern me greatly is the popular following of this nutbar!

    She is qualified to lead this country, to speak to people in masses and to become a role model like I'm qualified to pilot the space shuttle.

    It gives me that feeling in the pit of my stomach like when I'm losing a blood trail...

    happy hunting, dv