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Friday, September 12, 2008

Ad attacks "savage" Sarah Palin

This ad is a bit graphic. It was put out by the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, which just officially endorsed Barack Obama for president.

The ad describes the practice of aerial hunting in some detail, shows hunters gunning down a wolf from a low flying airplane, and talks about how Palin endorsed the practice while she was governor of Alaska.

According to Politico, the ad will air in the Dayton and Toledo areas (my area of Ohio.) You can see the ad there, if it doesn't play here.

I think it will turn a few people away from Palin, especially women, but what do you think?


Shane Matthews points out that aerial hunting is already prohibited under federal law (since about 1971, according to my research.) The aerial "hunting" that occurs in Alaska is done under the auspices of wildlife management, which the old law allows.

In 2007, the "Protect America's Wildlife Act" was introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-California). This bill, if passed, would ban all aerial hunting in the United States, except in cases of "emergency."

Posted by Terrence Watson on September 12, 2008 | Permalink


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Terrence, I can't seem to play these YouTube videos. Any advice?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-12 11:25:01 AM


It depends. What kind of error are you getting, if any? Do you have the most recent version of Flash? What browser are you using? etc.

Anyone else having trouble? It plays fine for me. You can also see it at the Politico link.



Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-09-12 11:33:14 AM

I'm not sure whether the ads will hurt in blue collar Dayton or Toledo. Most people are smart enough to know that Alaska is a relativity untouched state, and hunting there just didn't begin when Palin became governor. Shows a hint of desperation if that is all they can come up with.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-12 11:33:29 AM

Terrence, I was able to watch it on Politico.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-12 11:52:17 AM

Oh yeah, it will hurt Palin a lot . . .
. . . until they find out wolf hunting is critical to keep the population from spreading out of control and wiping out moose and caribou.

What morons.

Posted by: D.J. McGuire | 2008-09-12 12:11:54 PM

If you were really interested in how wolves affect moose and caribou populations, you could look it up yourself, but since you obviously don't want to understand, I will tell you- wolves kill the weakest, sickest, or oldest individuals in the population and that is it. Through this culling of the weak/diseased individuals wolves actually work to improve the overall health of moose and caribou populations. Sarah Palin hates wolves because she wants humans to be the only ones to kill moose and caribou- she has friends in the outfitting community and they too don't understand predator-prey ecology, they just assume that all predators are bad for business.

Posted by: B Phillips | 2008-09-12 12:22:48 PM

Any links you wish to post to help the "morons" to believe in that theory, DJ?

Posted by: Marc | 2008-09-12 12:25:16 PM

Actually, nature provides the balance needed to prevent wolves from wiping out moose and caribou. See, when there're a lot of wolves, they eat a lot of moose, so the moose population goes down. Then it just so happens that there aren't enough moose to go around, so the wolf population starts dying off. Finally, when there aren't as many wolves, the moose population thrives again. It's a big cycle that has been working for millions of years.
Hunting is O.K., but when using methods like this, (shooting fish in a barrel, anyone?), well, where is the sport in that? What a poor excuse to shoot something.

Posted by: Reh | 2008-09-12 12:28:18 PM

The hunting regulations in Alaska are some of the strictest in the country. When hunting most species you not only can't shoot them from an airplane, you have to wait until the following day after the plane lands before you even start out. In some hunts it's forbidden even to use handheld radios, dogs, or bait, and Christ help you if you break even one of these rules--the punishments are often more serious than those given to petty drug pushers. This is to promote "fair chase," meaning you give the animal a fair chance to elude you.

The video in question concerns the shooting of problem wolves, which are in no way endangered and often considered varmints because of the damage they do to human settlements. Setting bounties on problem species has proven an excellent way to thin their numbers; it is far less expensive than paying their own conservation officers to do it. I reiterate, airplane hunting is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN for all non-varmint species, yet the ad starts out with a clear shot of a bear.

As usual, the animal-rights types get it wrong. They offer no solutions themselves, but perhaps that's only because if they were to advocate selective thinning of the numbers of humans, they'd be up in charges on incitement to murder, or maybe even selected for culling themselves.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 12:37:46 PM

Wolfs only kill the weak? Yea right

Posted by: cv | 2008-09-12 12:40:32 PM

This lady has scared a lot of moon-bats, which is positive.

B Phillips and Reh are what I call sidewalk environmentalists and have no clue about the reality of nature. I have first hand experience confirming that predators do not only prey on the weak, sick and old. Nor do they only kill when they are hungry. Given the opportunity predators will kill as many as possible hungry or not. The fact is nature is cruel and has nothing in common with what comes out of Hollywood.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-09-12 12:42:43 PM

Any links you wish to post to help the "morons" to believe in that theory, DJ?
Posted by: Marc | 12-Sep-08 12:25:16 PM


Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-12 12:44:52 PM

Can the attitude, B. You only told half the story. Sure, wolves kill the old and the sick, but they also kill the YOUNG, and these are required for continuation of the species. And, if the wolves are hungry and only a strong, healthy bull is available for consumption, they'll take him down, too, although probably not without taking some damage themselves.

Hunters understand predator-prey ecology just fine, often much better than mouthy Dasani-chugging urbanites who are so phenomenally clueless that they will actually take photographs of their children petting wild bears (it just happened in North Vancouver). Say what you like about hunters; not one would ever be dumb enough to pull a stunt like that. Oh, and the bear had to be shot, too--it lost its fear of man because the urbanites were FEEDING IT.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 12:45:45 PM

Culling wildlife always gets a negative, knee-jerk response from the sentimental crowd. But I can't help thinking that even the negative ads that portray this woman with what are usually masculine attributes will work in her favour. I watched one spoof video that ends with the line: "Sarah Palin-if she shoots you in the face it's because she was aiming for it." In a backhanded way that makes her sound tougher than Cheney!

Posted by: lsrpiper | 2008-09-12 12:46:21 PM

Fair enough. Without links, a rant is just a rant.

Therefore, I give you this (http://www.hunt.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wolf.wolf_mgt):

"Concurrent with the cessation of aerial shooting of wolves, much of interior Alaska experienced severe winters with deep snow in 1970-71 and 1971-72, resulting in sharp declines in many moose populations. Without aerial shooting, wolves increased and prey populations continued to decline."

That was part of a statement from Wayne L. Regelin, Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in March 2002.

Posted by: D.J. McGuire | 2008-09-12 12:50:43 PM


Thanks for the tip on the law. I looked it up and added to the initial post. It appears a politician from California is attempting to get aerial hunting completely banned -- sounds like one of your "mouth Dasani-chugging urbanites" :)



Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-09-12 12:51:47 PM

Wow.......have any of you ever watched a wolf kill? They spend a long time picking out exactly which individual it is that they are going to go after and how do you think they choose to do that? By choosing which individual is weakest - usually young, old, sick, or injured. In the end, it strengthens the overall health of the herd. And if you are referring to humans, there has been one verified case of a human killed by a wolf.


Posted by: B Phillips | 2008-09-12 12:56:36 PM

Exactly who we need to go toe to toe with Bin Laden.

Not only does the world want Obama to win, but they assume he already has. Every hostile action from the liberal Democrats' friends, including Russia, Pakistan and Venezuela, who are all feeling their oats thse days, is helping McCain/Palin.

Best regards,
Gail S

Posted by: Gail S | 2008-09-12 12:57:59 PM

I don't know how this add will play up in Yankee land, but I've had nights in the last few years when my children have looked out their windows and seen coyotes on the street in front of the house and I had to keep the kids in the house after dark until we got the population reduced. BY KILLING THE DAMN COYOTES.

You don't hunt from aircraft, you cull from aircraft and you do because the wolves and coyotes are killing thing you don't want killed. Or getting to close to your family.

Posted by: Bubba Man | 2008-09-12 1:02:59 PM

And lo, there came into the wood a café agnostic, when a great she-bear brake the bushes at a turn, and gave him chase. And brought to book the agnostic quickly was, and as the she-bear lifted her killing paw, he crieth, Oh my God.

And it came to pass that time froze, the great bear was still, and the very river ceased its flow. And during the interlude the Lord saith, Thou hath denied Mine existence all thy life; how is it that thou now turnest to Me for help?

And the agnostic did answer, Well, that would be pretty lame, Dude. But how about You make the BEAR a Christian, peace and love, Dude, you know?

And the agnostic's words much pleased the Lord, and decreed it straight: And so it was that Time's march resumed, and the river floweth as before, and the agnostic lifted up hopeful eyes at the she-bear.

And the she-bear didst then squat upon her haunches, and folded her paws, and saith, Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful. Amen.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 1:04:18 PM

Do I want such a savage vice president?

As long as there is an Islamic jihad killing us using airplanes and worse ... yes I do.

That is the kind of person it takes to keep us safe.

I don't like to see any animal killed. I love animals more than humans, but I recognize the right of both to exist.

Posted by: John V | 2008-09-12 1:06:21 PM

Have YOU ever watched a wolf kill, B.? And by that I mean actually seen it in the woods for yourself, instead of having it filtered by a moviemaker who may have had his own viewpoint to sell? What editors leave on the cutting room floor would sink a battleship.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 1:06:43 PM

John V wrote: "don't like to see any animal killed. I love animals more than humans."

And yet liberals deny being self-haters.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 1:07:24 PM

Aerial Wolf Gunning 101 What is it, and why does vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin support the practice?
By Samantha Henig
Sept. 2, 2008, \
Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska and John McCain's vice presidential pick, is an enthusiastic hunter who has proposed legislation and cash incentives to encourage aerial wolf gunning, the controversial practice of shooting wolves from an aircraft. Do people in Alaska really shoot wolves from planes?

Yes, but only with the government's permission. Aerial shooting yields better results than traditional hunting, since it allows the hunter to cover a lot of ground quickly and track target animals from a clear vantage point. Historically, hunters also used planes to drive animals—polar bears in Alaska and elk in Montana, among others—toward gunmen waiting on the ground. But many hunters found the practice unsportsmanlike, since it violates the "fair chase" ethic, and animal rights activists call it inhumane, since airborne gunmen rarely get a clean (i.e., relatively painless) kill. In response to concerns like these, Congress passed the Federal Airborne Hunting Act of 1972, which made it illegal for hunters to shoot animals from a plane or helicopter.

The federal legislation (PDF) does have a loophole for predator control, permitting state employees or licensed individuals to shoot from an aircraft for the sake of protecting "land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life, or crops." (This doesn't just apply to wolves; coyotes and foxes are sometimes gunned down from aircraft, especially in Western states.) Since 2003, Alaska has issued aerial wolf-hunting permits in select areas where moose and caribou populations are particularly endangered. The idea is that by killing the predators, the airborne gunmen can ramp up the number of moose and caribou that human hunters can take home for supper.

An aerial wolf-gunning team typically consists of two people—one to fly the plane, and one to shoot the animals. Former crop sprayers tend to make good pilots because they are used to flying close to the ground. Airborne hunters tend to fly single-engine Super Cub planes at very low speeds and at altitudes of less than 100 feet—sometimes swooping down to 10 to 15 feet above the ground. But flying so slow and low can be dangerous, and there have been a number of reported deaths in recent years as a result. Helicopters have the benefit of being able to hover very close to the ground, but they're prohibitively expensive for private pilots. (A small helicopter might cost as much as four times more than a Super Cub.) This past spring, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game lent its helicopters and employees to the predator-control effort.
There are two methods for making a kill during an aerial hunting expedition: Either you shoot the wolf while airborne or you track the animal from above, then land and shoot it from the ground. Legal limits on "land and shoot" hunting have been far less stringent: For many years after shooting from the air was outlawed, anyone with a hunting or trapping license could practice "land and shoot," provided he or she walked a certain distance from his plane before opening fire. Current rules in Alaska require a delay between landing an aircraft and killing an animal: In most cases, hunters must wait until 3 the following morning before they can get started.

Back in the 1950s, Alaska paid government employees and bounty hunters to take out thousands of wolves, but today's aerial wolf killers are unpaid. (They can make some money by selling the wolf pelts.) Palin tried last year to have the state pay $150 for every wolf killed, but the state superior court shot that down as an illegal use of bounty payments, which were outlawed in that state in 1984.

Posted by: Harry Pugh | 2008-09-12 1:22:01 PM


Are you calling me a filthy liberal?

I am right of Attila, I just happen to like trust animals more than humans in general. They will never screw you over or badmouth you behind your back etc.

Posted by: John V | 2008-09-12 1:36:16 PM

Only when wolf, moose and caribou populations rise, is it a natural cycle. When they decline, it's the result of climate change.

Posted by: Brothersmartmouth | 2008-09-12 1:36:32 PM

Well, a couple things come to mind. Has anyone ever heard the story about how the Inuit controlled wolf populations? After hearing it I was sick to my stomach - having a weak stomach for blood and all that.

Secondly, I am wondering doesn't this ad contravene election gag laws? I thought 3rd parties could only advocate for general policy - but endorsing or attacking specific candidates was against McCain-Feingold?

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-09-12 1:39:30 PM

John, people trust animals more than they do strangers because the animals have no expectations of them. But they don't give much of a crap if you live or die, either, to which end they can often aid you by raiding your camp and guzzling all the food, sometimes even if the only food they find is you. Whatever else you may think of your fellow man, you are unlikely to become his supper.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 1:48:51 PM

In any case, I doubt this "tempest in a teapot" will have much impact. After all, Al Gore didn't lose many disciples when it was revealed how much the Messiah of Climate Change was contributing to the greenhouse effect with his lavish lifestyle. The type of people most likely to be affected by this ad are the type who would never vote Republican in any case.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 2:05:42 PM

Secondly, I am wondering doesn't this ad contravene election gag laws? I thought 3rd parties could only advocate for general policy - but endorsing or attacking specific candidates was against McCain-Feingold?
Posted by: Faramir | 12-Sep-08 1:39:30 PM

They are probably a 527 group.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-12 2:09:07 PM

Your link leads nowhere but here's one, from the EXACT SAME SITE, on Caribou.


I'm sorry but there's not a line on :"wolf hunting is critical to keep the population from spreading out of control and wiping out moose and caribou."

Posted by: Marc | 2008-09-12 2:44:50 PM

You've got a point there, Stig. The Defenders' own website claims that they have one of the few federal 527 accounts still allowed to be active in federal elections:


And you are indeed right that they are prohibited from collecting funds for the purpose of advocating for or campaigning against specific candidates, which is the only reason they are allowed to operate outside the Federal Election Commission. They are restricted to advocating for general policy and voter turnout.

In the aftermath of the 2004 elections, a number of 527 groups were fined for violations. Given the stunning bitterness of that campaign, this is scarcely surprising. As a result, Congress is now considering legislation that would require 527 groups to be regulated under campaign finance rules.

It's interesting to note that among the top twenty 527 groups, only five are Republican. All the rest are Democrat.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 3:53:08 PM

The merits are irrelevant. McCain wants to run ads saying Obama voted to teach kindergartners sex, then this is what you're going to get. People like me are donating to have this ad played, and I don't think it's that big a deal. Inhumane, yes, but a few hundred wolves is not a big impact. This is pure politics. Palin has a policy of supporting and promoting something that the vast majority of Americans find quite objectionable. So let's just see how the soccer and hockey moms in Ohio respond to the graphic images.

The GOP has taught the left all about dirty political ads (though this one is factually true). Did you Reputridcans think that we wouldn't play by your own gutter standards. I tell you, many many people are donating to Wildlife Defenders, and this ad will continue to run in Ohio as well as Florida.

And don't be so sure it's a hot thing in Alaska. Twice the citizens passed referendums banning the practice. Most hunters find the practice extremely objectionable and it is a smear on hunters to even call this barbaric practice hunting. Most Americans find this practice abhorent.

The 527s are just getting warmed up. Why do you think donations are down for Obama? People have been waiting for some good groups to donate to instead.

Posted by: JTS | 2008-09-12 9:49:49 PM

I think it is wonderful that Sarah Palin lets hunters shoot animals from airpalnes. Lets face it, the animals are going to doe anyway and the airplane speeds things up. Note to Liberals: hell no we won't let you register airplanes.

Posted by: aa | 2008-09-12 11:22:38 PM

This won't hurt her. It's not like wolves are cute and cuddly like baby seals...pass me a club will you? Can you club baby seals from an airplane, I wonder?

Posted by: Markalta | 2008-09-12 11:31:50 PM

Markalta: "Can you club baby seals from an airplane, I wonder?"

You can if you believe Doctor House.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 11:45:55 PM

JTS, it's not called hunting. It's called culling. Sure polite society doesn't like it, but did you know that in England special government hunters have been known to pick off urban and suburban vermin with .22 rifles fitted with silencers? No one complains, as long as nothing is ever seen or heard. Kind of like abortion; yes it's killing a live human, but if you never see it happen, you can convince yourself it's no big deal.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 11:49:07 PM

Shane, you miss my point. The point is that people don't approve of it. Go ahead and try to convince me and the rest of the country that it's a nice thing. It's not neccessary to cull wolves. The purpose is to make more game available for recreational hunting. People on the whole don't find that a sufficient justification for what they view as a barbaric practice. Culling is a term for reducing the size of a population. The means of culling are at issue, and people find the means that Palin promotes wrong.

Posted by: JTS | 2008-09-13 1:03:58 AM

There seems to be a lot of "dirt" surfacing about Sarah Palin on certain websites, may I suggest www.onlinejournal.com for some "revealing" articles.

Posted by: glen | 2008-09-13 6:38:36 AM

How about a political compromise. Governor Palin would desist from terminating lupine tissue that is potentially psychologically traumatic or otherwise inconvenient for Alaskans if there were also a moratorium on the killing of human life enjoying its natural habitat.

Posted by: Walter Funk | 2008-09-13 7:29:10 AM

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