A reader writes:

Well as I am a part of the Alaska hunting community, I forced myself to watch last night's episode of SPA. I wanted to see how Alaska hunting was portrayed, and particularly how Alaskan women hunters were portrayed.

One thing is patently obvious to any real hunter: Sarah Palin is a poseur; she is not at all familiar with a bolt action rifle. As far as real Alaskan women hunters, lest viewers think otherwise, no woman hunter I know does not operate her own bolt when extracting the brass and inserting a new cartridge. Very odd to see her dad operate the bolt for her as she fired all those bullets downrange. I have my doubts she actually killed that caribou with the other rifle, but we'll never know.

Rifle scopes can sometimes be bonked, a rifle dropped on rocks etc, to where they do go off sight. But there was no indication anything like that happened with Sarah's rifle.

And when they do go off sight, often it's a matter of inches up or down or left or right, and shooting at a broadside caribou from that distance as Sarah was, it is more likely to wound the animal than completely miss it when aiming at the shoulder/lung area.

On top of that, when a rifle scope does go off and needs to be sighted in again, one doesn't take something that small (a 10" diameter paper plate in this case) and put it downrange as a target to check the sighting. Missing something that small doesn't really prove anything ... if the rifle scope really was off, it could be six inches off left or right or up or down and still miss the plate, but would still have hit the caribou in the lung/shoulder area. It could be ten inches off and would still have hit the caribou. For Sarah to completely miss that caribou at that range would mean the scope would have to be waaaay off. That just isn't a very likely scenario with today's modern equipment. And taking that (supposed) final shot with the other rifle, when the caribou was no longer broadside (which is the much preferred shot because it provides a much large killing zone) but facing directly toward Sarah ... I don't know any hunter who after missing so many times would then choose to take that kind of shot at such a smaller target. It just doesn't add up.

Neither does a 72 year old man walk "four or five miles" from camp on that tundra - which is really undulating ankle-twisting tussocks - as they claimed during the episode, then walk the same distance back. A ten mile hike on that tundra with a loaded pack is a feat for someone young and physically fit. I'm not sure why they chose to lie about that, certainly the camera crew also could not walk that distance carrying their equipment. But that's "reality" television for you. Any hunter who watched that episode should come away with the knowledge that Sarah Palin the "hunter" was a big bold lie.

Another writes:

My favorite moment of this episode was her comment that having the binoculars made this a “fair” contest. I have nothing against hunting, but there is obviously nothing fair about this contest. Palin and her company are equipped with high powered killing machinesrifles with long-distance scopes, so they don’t even have to get near the target. And the caribou obviously hears the shots that miss, but doesn’t understand what they mean, so it makes no effort to get out of the way. This allows Palin to take 6 or so shots before finally killing the animal. How is that fair? How is that even a contest?

I have now seen all episodes but the immediately prior one. I can only say that:

(1) the visuals in the show are spectacularly unspectacular. I expected to see some really terrific vistas of Alaska, but for the most part it’s been less than memorable visually. In last night’s episode, for example, we see lots of very flat, unattractive tundra.

(2) Palin’s speaking parts remain totally banal and uninteresting. I understand that her comments while actually on location are trite and unmemorable, but there are plenty of voice-over segments and segments where she is sitting down and speaking. However, she never says anything particularly insightful about what she has done or is doing or about Alaska. She almost never takes the opportunity to present any facts about the subject matter of the show and when she does the information is minimal. She’s hunting caribou. Is it too much to ask that she tell us something about the origins of this animal or its relation to elk, moose, deer, etc., or that she say something about how large the caribou herds in Alaska are or whether they are growing or shrinking, or something about what they eat or, for that matter, anything at all about the caribou’s habits?

This seems to be a consistent failure on the part of this show. We see Palin engaging in a number of activities that supposedly are typical of Alaska, but she offers no insight into the activities and she gives no “bigger picture” sense as to how these activities fit into the Alaskan economy or way of life. Although she keeps talking about how wonderful Alaska is, the show is all about her, her, her.

And you were expecting ... ?

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