Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pete Bodo: Why Some Hunters Declared Open Season on Sarah Palin

The show represents an authentic hunting experience with honesty and integrity
Hunter and author Pete Bodo finds that the most interesting discovery from the controversy over last Sunday's hunting episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is how little most people who criticized it know about Alaska, guns, wildlife, and hunting. And no one knows less about such things than Hollyweirdo Aaron Sorkin, who doesn't even know the difference between a caribou and 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 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.


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.

- JP

1 comment:

  1. Holy crap! This is GREAT coming from Peter ... I recommended a nice Thai restaurant to Peter in Indian Wells when he was in SoCal covering the Pacific Life Open, and he is one heck of a great guy, and a truly fine writer.

    But here's the coolest part of all -- Pete is a journalist, of course, but he is primarily a TENNIS journalist with best-selling books about the pro tour to his credit, a HUGE familiarity with the history of the men's and women's tennis tours, and -- trust me -- he is utterly, absolutely ~surrounded~ by exploding heads in the tennis world. Everywhere.

    This is a huge and actually daring move for Pete to give even a "fair shake" to Sarah, considering the environment in which he works. I guarantee you he will get some flak about this, but thank God he is the best tennis journalist on the planet and has a significant following. He and I were supposed to get together for dinner during the Indian Wells tourney back in 02 or 03 (he graciously invited me!)but I was called away on business. I always regretted not being able to get together for dinner with him.

    Josh, thanks for pointing this out, not only because it made my day, but because his treatment of Sarah is significant, given the context. I reiterate: the tennis community is exceedingly, bleedingly liberal, and so are Pete's fellow top-journalists (Oh my Gosh, Emmy & Peabody-winner Mary Carillo nearly wet herself on-air, whilst giving Australian Open in-the-booth commentary, about the "glory of Obama", when it had nothing whatsoever to do with the sport or the matches. Totally unprofessional and out of line. THAT is very indicative of Pete Bodo's peer-environment).

    I absolutely raise a glass to Peter for doing this. I always knew he was a hunter -- one of his constant refrains/references is to his home in "game-rich Andes [New York]". I always knew he was a man of no-fuss-no-muss common sense, but it's superb that he stood up for Sarah! Again, I cannot emphasize enough how he has put himself kinda swaggeringly on the line amid his peers.

    I know because I worked around the tennis and tennis commentary/journalism community here in California for a significant period of time. And I am an avid USTA-rated player with a devastating backhand! [And it is NOT a sissy sport! You have to be a snarling warrior to play the game well ... just ask Mr. Bodo]. I have met only a small handful of conservatives in my journeys through the tennis world, and tennis etiquette generally demands a "no politics discussed" policy on court, but it certainly discussed afterward at the club.

    Pete's regular column at is a must for anyone who follows tennis, but if your readers are not tennis fans, Josh, I would highly encourage them to check out this current hunting book by Peter, as well as his classic novel "The Trout Whisperers" (I believe that's the name of it). It came out a few years back and is one of the funniest, best novels about fishing/outdoor-life anyone could ever imagine. The perfect Christmas gift for the avid hunter/fisherman dad, grand-dad (or mom, or sister, of course) in the family.

    Three cheers for Peter and three cheers for you, Josh, for pointing this out for us Palin supporters. Great work, as usual!

    As my beloved granny would say, "I'm tickled!"