Sarah Palin is No Hunter

The namesake of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" is no hunter, no matter what she might pretend.

Judging by this segment from “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” the show’s namesake is no hunter.

Pat Lang:

What I did see was a woman who looked afraid of the rifle and who couldn’t hit that Caribou with it.  Her father kept talking to her as though she were a 12 year old who had to be talked into killing Bambi’s mommy.  He worked the bolt for her several times to re-load the rifle after she missed clean shots at the deer.  The poor deer, with bullets whizzing around it, wandered around looking to see what the source of the noise might be.  Finally someone shot it in the chest. Did she do it? Maybe.

Now, I don’t want you to misunderstand.  It is perfectly all right with me if she doesn’t like killing animals.  Actually I would think better of her for that.  What I don’t like is phony estrogen loaded outdoorsiness.  It reminds me of John Kerry with his $5,000 worth of hunting gear.

For commenters not familiar with Pat, let me spare you from embarrassing yourselves with ad hominem about his manliness.  Not only did bag his first deer at the age of 14, as he explains in gruesome detail in the post, he went on to become a Green Beret colonel and a senior executive in America’s intelligence community.

As for myself, while I grew up shooting guns and did my own hitch in the Army, I’m not a hunter.  I like a good steak as much as the next guy but would prefer to outsource the killing.

Like Pat, my complaint isn’t that Palin isn’t a hunter or an outdoorswoman — neither of which would make me think her an iota more qualified to be president — but rather her cultivated image to the contrary.   Or, to paraphrase a line I heard somewhere:  “What’s the difference between a hunter and Sarah Palin?  Lipstick.”

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Me says:

    Well apparently Mr. Lang isn’t a TV watcher. First it was a caribou (granted if it were in a cage around a yule log – it would be a reindeer) she shot not a deer. She had trouble with her father’s rifle because he had a screwed up scope – which is confirmed when he shot it and missed a paper target at camp. An experience hunter is not going to attempt to take a Kentucky Windage shot trying to adjust for a screwed up scope. He’s probably going to abandon the shot rather than waste the ammo. She did take several shots, but mostly because her father was pushing her too – hence working the bolt for her.

    Palin has never portrayed herself as a regular hunter or outdoorsman. Rather she proclaimed she was taught by her father to hunt, fish, etc. She gives a pretty good demonstration that she loves and respects her father during the episode, and he is her teacher in the ways of the outdoors. She most certainly demonstrated it wasn’t her first time behind a rifle and taking down game. Sure it was obvious it had been years since she was out in the tundra, but most certainly not her first time.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    That was just embarrassing. She can’t work the bolt. (Who the hell let her handle a weapon with which she’s unfamiliar?) She asks stupid questions. “Does it kick?” (No, Sarah, the laws of physics don’t apply to this gun.) She’s a lousy shot. (Wonder how many misses were edited out?) She holds the weapon like a poorly-prepped actor pretending to shoot. And I am highly skeptical that she fired the kill shot.

  3. mantis says:

    “What’s the difference between a hunter and Sarah Palin? Lipstick.”

    And hunting.

  4. sam says:
  5. homosexual r-i-n-o says:


    Are you jealous that James hates Palin more than you??

  6. homosexual r-i-n-o says:

    I almost forgot…


    Go Sara!!!!

  7. john personna says:

    I watched a few minutes of SPA when they were teaching the one daughter to shoot clay pigeons. I thought that was a nice bit. Always good to have a back yard (or 2nd property) big enough for shotguns.

    But, I guess I reached my limit. I saw SPA in my cable listings last night, and cringed.

  8. Frank says:


    I hate palin as much as the next guy, but obviously she meant, as is common, does it kick a lot. I’ve had people ask me the same thing even after they’ve fired other guns on occasion, as they wonder if this one will kick much more than the last.

    As much as the palin-lovers on here annoy me, I do get the feeling there’s a bit too much crying about her on this site, which gets equally as annoying. Combine that annoyance with listening to y’alls intuitive, mostly-nonsense opinions on the internet or religion amongst other subjects, and I start to feel a little bored.

    Lets try to make things a bit more interesting around here.

  9. tom p says:

    Sarah Palin is a fraud from the word go… as I said some time ago, can you see her in moose guts up to her elbows??? I doubt very much she has ever seen a gut pile.

  10. michael reynolds says:


    I’m not part of this blog, I just hang out here.

  11. michael reynolds says:


    And no, no such thing is “obvious.” It’s your guess as my opinion was mine.

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    Ya the rifle was off, her dad takes her hunting, so what, and how much meat you got in your freezer? Hell, she cleaned it and humped it out of the tundra, and humped all over the tundra.

  13. Brian Knapp says:

    Hell, she cleaned it and humped it out of the tundra, and humped all over the tundra.

    Trying…to….keep…from…juvenile…jokes…brain…going…to… burst!

  14. TG Chicago says:

    “In the words of Ted Nugent”??? Oh man, if only she had started quoting the lyrics to “Stranglehold” while posing for the picture with the dead animal.

  15. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***Trying…to….keep…from…juvenile…jokes…brain…going…to… burst!*** 🙂 Don’t think I wasn’t a thinking stuff as I wrote it…………

  16. anjin-san says:

    Someone with experience firing guns might ask “what kind of a kick does it have”, but “does it kick”? Hmmmmm

    On the other hand, Plain says a lot of stupid things…

  17. Tipper says:

    I laughing my ass off at all the Palin obsessive compulsives especially Joyner criticizing her shooting on a hunting trip (Joyner links an authoritative voice who either doesn’t retain inof very well or didn’t actually watch the show) especially given that these same Plain obsessives needed cases of depends because people laughed that our Presidents throws a baseball like a girl.

  18. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    I missed the episode when it originally aired by saw a repeat tonight. It’s clear from what I saw that the anti-Palin comments on here are clearly not objective.

    First, she was shooting her father’s rifle (presumably for the first time) and to ask “does it kick” is quite common. I have been asked that same question several times when others have shot my rifles and the answers range anywhere from “Naw, not at all” to “Hell yeah, it will kick you into next week”, depending on the rifle being fired.

    The fact that she missed the first three shots was proved later in the show as due to the rifle not being zeroed in. She hit the caribou on her first shot with a different rifle. She could work the bolt, which she did on her third shot. Her father seemed to have a case of “buck fever” that caused him to jump in and work the bolt for her. She didn’t display any signs of being “…afraid of the rifle…” that I could detect. And later she helped field dress the carcass and haul it home.

    With all due respect to Mr. Lang, my overall impression was that she hunted like a woman. Go figure!

  19. Frank says:


    (If you’re still checking this)…

    I understand that you aren’t a poster on this blog, but your comments have occasionally been equally annoying when you spout your intuitive opinion on subjects you are clearly have little knowledge about. Granted, like the posters, your thoughts are sometimes interesting and informative… when you stick to what you know; granted, you are always welcome to your opinion, I just often fail to see the difference between some people and say, Smooth Jazz. I don’t intend any disrespect, I just wish things would get a little more interesting around here.

    As my field is linguistics and as an avid hunter, my comment on palin’s statements serves just to add some empirical evidence to your less-than-favorable interpretation of her words.

    Let me be clear again, I hate palin and not even just a little bit. Either way, even if my experiences give her statements a more favorable interpretation, she’s still no hunter, as the post title indicates.

  20. Vana says:

    If Sarah Palin stops killing animals maybe just maybe, I could think about to vote on her if she becomes a presidential candidate, I like the fact that she is pro Life but the hunting thing makes her look really bad and I can’t understand the stupid pleasure some people find by killing animal.