_–Chad Love
Is the national obsession over Sarah Palin’s caribou-hunting still going strong? You betcha! Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent are far and away the two most polarizing figures in the hunting world as well as figureheads to the non-hunting public, so it’s no surprise the debate is still churning. From this story on the Wall Street Journal blog Speakeasy:


_Why Have Some Hunters Declared Open Season on Sarah Palin?
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but the big takeaway from the controversy over the recent caribou hunting episode on “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” (the series running on The Learning Channel) is that people are going to react to anything that the former vice-presidential candidate and populist icon does or says based almost solely on how they feel about her going in.
_The other and more interesting discovery, at least for me, is how little most people who criticized the episode know about Alaska, guns, wildlife, and hunting. The Hollywood swell Aaron Sorkin started the ball at the Huffington Post by misidentifying Palin’s quarry, the caribou, as a moose.
_I mean, I know Sorkin wrote “The Social Network” (OMG! 2 cool!) and all that, but boy, does he know zilch about animals (including, presumably, the ones that provide his Santa Monica dinners). I suppose he doesn’t understand that he’s a predator in his own right – who else would label a woman documenting a hunting trip with her father, Chuck Palin Sr., as a “witless bully?” But never mind that. Friends have told me that even some hunters have criticized the show on various grounds. After watching the episode, I suspect it’s simply because those critics are among that distinct minority that hunts but also suffers from Sarah-phobia. The show accurately represents an authentic hunting experience; in fact, it does so with greater honesty and integrity that you find on your typical Saturday morning “antler porn” hunting show.

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._

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