Catherine Forsythe

Catherine Forsythe
know a bit about computer security, dogs, horses, skiing, medicine and making risotto. My nickname in real life/online is "Noggie" - I'm on Twitter, with the @dogreader account.

DECEMBER 13, 2010 3:05PM

Did A Caribou Die for Sarah Palin's Political Gain?

Rate: 24 Flag

I grew up on a farm. My grandfather was a farmer. His father was a farmer. His father's father was a farmer. Firearms are one of the tools of a livestock farm operation. Too often, an animal's suffering has to be ended quickly. Many times, the farm stock need to be protected from predators. It is one of the less enticing elements of farm life but firearms are a necessity.

In harsh economic times, hunting was an essential. Game birds served to feed the family and allow more time for the cattle to put on some extra weight. It would stretch the budget during tough economic months until Spring would offer the prospect of a new and better season. True hunters are excellent stewards of the land and the wildlife. They realize the important of the two and it is not a passing interest. 

Prior to the teenage years, I could break down a hunting rifle, clean it and put it back together again. It is not an uncommon skill in the family. Further, I know how to melt down metal, put in primers, load gunpowder and make shotgun shells. And yes, I can shoot a gun and a rifle. 

Some of my interest in dogs was nurtured in hunting blinds, with master hunters and their dogs. These were dogs who lived to retrieve game. This was a call to what was bred into the dogs' DNA from centuries of service to man. The dogs were steady to the sound of a gunshot over their heads and would follow the aim of the rifle. The success of a day's outing often depended on the dogs' skill and intelligence in retrieving the game. A good dog meant food on the table and perhaps down feathers for pillows and clothing. Every part of the bird would find some use.

I am then familiar with hunting and the gun culture. My interest in dogs has allowed me access to some of the master hunters on a couple of continents. Therefore, I do not approach this topic as a novice or with naïveté. I am curious as to why Sarah Palin had to shoot a caribou for her Discovery Channel program.

Was it necessary that Mrs Palin down some caribou for the family freezer?

There is something vile about killing wildlife when it is not necessary. How much of that animal was used? Perhaps, that caribou was used for symbolic purposes to show Mrs Palin in the light of an outdoors person. However, a person with a true respect of the outdoors does not kill gratuitously. There is a respect for the land that we share. Further, there is a respectfulness toward the wildlife with whom we share the land. 

It seems that it is not only I who is disturbed by this. Others, like Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, have compared Palin's program with a "snuff" film:

"...  According to Sorkin, Palin’s love of caribou hunting is no different than Michael Vick’s penchant for dog fighting. "I can make the distinction between the two of us but I've tried and tried and for the life of me, I can't make a distinction between what you get paid to do and what Michael Vick went to prison for doing..."

It would give pause to the true hunters that I know that wildlife was killed needlessly. Perhaps this animal was sacrificed for political purposes or for media relations. If indeed this was the case, it is not hunting. It would be inaccurate to call it such. To be more precise, it is a demonstration of being able to kill and deriving some pleasure from that. I don't know what to call that. I only know that it is nauseating. The behaviour is disgusting.

Catherine Forsythe
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I caught this on the news and found it to be very disturbing. I have often thought that Palin has a crazed look in her eyes if you look closely.
Glad I miss her show in entirety. Isn't she promoting the boundless fun that is Alaska, one of the last playgrounds for the wealthy who have tired of hunting the poor for sport this congressional season?
If there's political gain from this then that says a lot about us as a society.
i never thought of it as a snuff film.. but it is..
rated with hugs
As a woman who at the age of twelve could field dress a dear in 20 minutes I say Amen Cathrine!!!
It also said something about us if we consider the killing of an animal and such crap as entertainment.
"Sarah and her family travel ahead to prepare the campsite – which is once again in a part of Alaska that can only be accessed by float planes (apparently the Alaskans who spend the spring hunting for food to survive the long winter receive some kind of government subsidy to charter private planes.)" ~Knightwriter (another cover story today)
Sorkin's right.

My father grew up in north woods of Ontario, where hunting was a way of life that put food on the table of many families. He remained an avid hunter and fisherman until he physically couldn't do it any longer, and never wasted anything he killed.

I too learned about shotguns and rifles -- and was very, very good with the latter -- but have never hunted. Given the way I grew up, I certainly don't disrespect those who do ... unless it's for something like boosting TV ratings.
Maybe we can take comfort in the fact that she did it embarrassingly poorly.
Perfect Karma if the hunters are calling open season on her.
rated with love
At least she didn't hit any bystanders :)
Clinton murdered ducks from time to time, as did you know can't the broadside of a barn who did, to be one of the guys.
Putin tranquilized a tiger, and tagged a whale, so, in that league... ?
This was wonderful Catherine. My former fiance was from Montana and I learned a lot about hunting culture from him. I found the hunters I met respectful stewards of the land and wildlife and never killed any animal gratuitously. There is something quite twisted about Sarah Palin; it is not an accurate reflection of the hunters that I have known.
one can hope that the caribou meat was donated to some needy recipient, but if it was, my guess is that it was not SP's idea first to do so but part of a reaction of her PR team.
I think that we're all gonna die for Sarah Palin's financial or political gain!
I dont like using words like idiotic, but Sorkin's comment about fighting dogs and hunting caribou as being the same is just that. I oppose both, but caribou is a game animal. A dog is not. The comparison is an absurdity. Now, I will grant that Palin's cavalier show of killing a caribou is cynical. I think Palin lacks a conscience. But society does make a distinction between dogs and cat which are commonly pet animals, and big game wild animals. Furthermore, Palin's act is a regulated, and legal practice. Michael Vick's crime is never legal. The comparison is just plain wrong. {R}
Xenon gets my Comment of the Day award.
I agree with Bill Beck's assessment of the two acts. Still, I get your point about Palin's shooting of the caribou. It seems that everything she does has a primary political objective. Shooting an animal just to look tough for a TV viewer who might vote in 2012 is pretty disgraceful.
Much as it kills me to say an even faintly favorable anything about SP, I tend to agree with her statement: Unless you've never worn leather shoes, sat upon a leather couch or eaten a piece of meat, save your condemnation of tonight's episode.

She is, as Sorkin says, a phony pioneer girl, she's a suburban princess if I've ever seen one. Her strutting bravado whenever she handles a gun or talks about hunting is stupid and disgusting.

On the other hand, when Sorkin compares what she did to dog fighting: for the life of me, I can't make a distinction between what you get paid to do and what Michael Vick went to prison for doinghe is absolutely wrong. The caribou, before it became a PR prop, presumably lived a decent, normal caribou life and it, again, presumably, died quickly (thanks entirely to SP's father, I'm sure) Vick's dogs lived and died in abject misery, a gross distortion of a dog's life.

Most of the beef, chicken, pork, eggs and dairy products consumed in this country, and therefore most of the leather, down and other products they provide, come from animals also raised in some degree of misery. Most people aren't willing to put the effort into researching the source of their animal products let alone pay the premium price of "happy meat."

And Sarah Palin is still a repulsive phony, a liar, and, yes, a douche. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Call me what you will, but I see nothing amusing or sportsmen-like about killing innocent animals. Dogs, Caribou, Birds, etc. I understand that this caribou suffered because it was improperly murdered, but what do I know? I'm just a city boy that doesn't understand the senseless taking of a life for the fun of it. OH! She did it for TV ratings! Well, that's entirely different. Ugh.
Great post. I've never understood hunting, so I'm happy that you educated me on the subject. Almost everything Sarah Palin does is for political gain.

The comparison with Michael Vick is interesting and true. R.
Sarah needs the caribou, otherwise, she'll have to hunt small children!! What?


Where I grew up, if you covered a nearby tree in deer piss and then climbed another tree and smoked a few Merits and drank Coors Light for 3 hours before waiting for a baited deer to come by and then shattering the unsuspecting animal with a slug from a scoped shotgun, you got to call yourself a hunter. Despite there being no hunting involved, of course. Just meerly waiting.

I need not pile onto Palin any more than has been done here already; shes a twit of the highest order, but another commentor has it right that this is a reflection of an electorate that feels it important that our political favorites know their way around a firearm. It was just as repulsive when John Kerry made an ass of himself stomping through fields of game birds in a big dumb orange hat in '03. The abilty to create appeal for your political character by stalking defenseless animals, or not, has always mystified me.
I've given the program a pass but no squalid aspect of Palin would surprise me. It probably works as one of those wedge issues. The base is enthalled and get another opportunity to disparage the "ultra-left liberals" who must be the only ones taking exception. At least she's not making Obama's mistake of striving for bi-partisanship.

On another note, I'm impressed by your divergent talents in computing techniques, hunting and gun care, and risotto.