Palin’s Hunting Trip To Feed Her Family Cost $42,400 for the caribou meat!

Article says it was not hunt to fill family freezer . . . a hunt for personal publicity-

There has been some discussion in our forum about Palin’s TV, caribou hunt. . . . questions about the rifle she used, her shooting ability, and so forth. Here’s one that goes to the heart of the thing — it wasn’t really a hunt to fill the Palin family freezer to get them through the winter.

Sarah Palin’s Hunting Trip To Feed Her Family Cost — $42,400 or $141.33 per lb. of Caribou Meat! By Bonnie Fuller in Hollywood Life





  1. jon Avatar

    Please, Sarah is a millionaire and although I don’t see any problem with her hunting caribou, she most likely did not need that meat. I bet there are natives in Alaska who needed that meat much more than her. They aren’t rich like Palin is, not even close. They are basically poor and actually rely on game for their surival, Sarah does not. For her to say she needed to hunt to feel her freezer to get them thru the winter is hogwash. Boggles my mind how some act like they are literally going to starve to death if they don’t hunt.

    1. Salle Avatar

      But that’s what those beleaguered wealthy do, whine about how much more that they don’t have. they always choose some activity that they think will make them look like the commonfolk, but always with a pricetag far more than the poor could earn in years… all to try and validate their specialness. Or maybe it’s to show how little the poor really need to exist since they can take on these roles for themselves, only it’s all entertainment for them.

      1. WM Avatar

        ++they always choose some activity that they think will make them look like the commonfolk++

        About two weeks ago England’s Prince Charles was the topic of a TV program in which he advocated for environmental awareness and change. Scenes showed him in his organic garden, working the soil, eating a carrot fresh from the ground. Then he spoke of telling young Princes William and Harry to turn off the TV when they leave a room. All things to give the impression of being a “commoner” concerned with the envronment.

        Now pan out from the garden scene. How freakin’ much electricity, natural gas, coal, or whatever it is they use, does it take to heat or cool a fifty thousand square foot (maybe much larger) residence like Kennsington Palace or any of the other places the Royal Family decides to head for the week (with the remainder of the time occupied by attending staff until they show up on a whim)?

    2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Jon, I agree with you. I get so sick of people like that who claim they need to hunt to fill the freezer. She can afford to have lobster several nights a week. I am sure there are plenty of people in Alaska (and the lower 48) who do rely on game to fill their freezer but I question (and I know some people are going to flip on reading this) how many people really rely on game meat anywhere. When you factor in the cost of licenses, equipment, and gas to hunt are you really saving that much? At the price she paid for that she could have bought an entire cow and possibly an entire pig and a few chickens. I try not to get too political on this blog but am I the only one who wishes this family would just go away? Sarah is famous for being a VP candidate and a governor for half a a term (Even the governors I bash on here finished their terms. ) and her daughter is famous for getting knocked up. I’m sorry to rant like this but I am so sick of them.

      1. Save bears Avatar

        I save a lot because I hunt, it does not cost me much in fuel to go hunting and the last 3 animals I have taken were within a mile of my back tags are not all that expensive, I cut and wrap my own meat as well as make my own burger..

        Tonight’s Menu consists of Elk roast and home grown vegetables..

        As far as Palin going hunting, so what, its her I think she needs to hunt, probably not..but you all have a choice, when you see her show being advertised, don’t watch it, when you see her name in a headline, don’t read it…

        She gets all the attention because you all give her the attention..myself pretty much ignore her, of course I don’t pay much attention to a car wreck when I drive by either, I guess some just can’t resist..

      2. william huard Avatar
        william huard

        I agree with people that have commented about how people are facinated with her. She is an idiot, with very narrow views of how wildlife fits into the big picture. I didn’t watch her reality show except for a few minutes when she missed four or five shots in a row, as she is shooting direct at the animal. Just hearing her voice say “And it hurts like crap” as she is hitting the fish with the club makes me wince in pain. Everyone knows when people stop talking about her she will stop making money.

      3. Izabela Hadd Avatar
        Izabela Hadd

        Save are so right..too much publicity. Who cares what she hunts, eats, wears..yes.. I would love her name to disapear from TV,radio, newspapers and internet. I am sick of them also.

    3. Craig Avatar

      Not that I defend her but, maybe she does not like antibiotic, steroid shit beef! Maybe she’s like millions of Americans who prefer Wild Natural meat to eat and feed there family by Hunting!
      Something a person like you jon could not understand! You are so pathetic in your one sided views it’s pathetic! Have you ever Hunted? You would have done well back in the days where hunting ment survival. I’m setting here eating an Elk Steak and Taters as I type! Can I afford Beef? Yeah I prefer Wild game, that’s why I hunt. You just don’t get it do you?

      1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
        ProWolf in WY

        Craig, it’s people like her who make enough money to afford meat but act like they depend on it that are annoying. By the way, I also like wild game and like the fact that it has no additives. Most people don’t care if she hunts, but the fact is that she does not depend on it and it is a hobby for her.

      2. jon Avatar

        Not all store bought meat has antibiotics and steroids in them Craig. Hunting isn’t about survival anymore. For some who are literally starving yes, but that isn’t the majority of the hunters in America. As someone said on here, it costs more to hunt than to buy meat in a store. Watch it with the insults. You act like a little child when you throw a fit.

      3. jon Avatar

        And wild game contains more bacteria than store bought meat.

        Wild game is likely to carry bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, as well as parasites, which can be passed on to humans through contact or consumption. Food safety issues can arise before the first shot (if the animal is diseased) all the way through transport, aging, butchering, and preparation of the meat. Following food safety guidelines will ensure that wild game can be safely enjoyed at the table.

        People think that by cooking it, that you’re going to get rid of all of the bad stuff, but you just never know, do ya Craig.

      4. Ralph Maughan Avatar


        I think you are probably right about eating wild game. It depends on the location where it lives, however. Some habitats are polluted.

        From what the ex-governor has said about government regulations, and I think that would include meat inspection, her elevation to the presidency would make wild game an even better bet compared to farmed meat.

        I have a strong suspicion though that that Palins get almost all their meat at the supermarket.

      5. Ryan Avatar


        From what you posted, you have never hunted, never eaten wild game, and obiviously jaded about it. In my real world expirience, I have never seen anybody get sick from eating venision. Posting a article on proper meat care is not evidence that wild meat is diseased or unhealthy.

  2. jon Avatar

    43,000 dollars for the hunt. She could have gone down to her nearest store and buy some decent cut meat. Instead she spends 43,000 dollars on a hunting trip and claims she needs the meat for the winter? Sounds a little ridiculous if you ask me.

    1. jon Avatar

      The grand Palin total to bag a caribou and get it back to the Palin homestead added up to $42,400, or $141.33 per lb. of caribou meat. Sarah shot and killed a female cow which may have weighed up to 300 lbs.

      Just to put this is perspective, the Palins could have filled their freezer with ribeye steak at $10.99 a lb. from Alaska’s Mr. Prime Beef, which is based in Anchorage and ships anywhere in the state.

      I have no problem with hunting as a hobby and eating what you catch. But when Sarah goes on about being “tough, independent and self sufficent” and that’s why she hunts, she can’t be serious. How many Americans can afford to be that “self sufficent” and “self sustaining” when it costs $42,400 to personally hunt for their meat?

      It’s a nice fantasy Sarah — but that’s what you’re really selling on your reality show.

      1. WM Avatar

        But jon,

        You should really be asking the question, what did that $42K outlay produce in the way of income from her reality show, and whatever she and her handlers “think” that hunting adventure did to market or enhance her image for whatever next political/commericial steps she believes are in her future?

        For me, it was just one more datapoint (there are already too many) confirming that a McCain-Palin win would have been a disaster for America. One heartbeat away from being President – that is a very frightening thought.

      2. Ryan Avatar


        How much of these costs were for flying the reaity show crew out there? I would guess a significant portion of the 37K was to fly the crew out seeing as how a Dash holds 30+ passengers. I would guess at the end of the day, none of it came out of her pocket. She’s obiviously not trophy hunting, she killed a young cow. Out of all the reasons to get ones panties bunched up, this is pretty minor.

  3. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    If she was a commoner she would have driven to Anchorage and flown to Deadhorse for less than $800 each, round trip and saved about $36,000 on the air charter. It still would have been expensive meat after the other costs but she could have brought it back free as baggage.

    1. Elk275 Avatar

      If she was a commoner she and her party would have driven to Dead Horse and flown from there by passing a fancy lodge.

      If she was really a commoner she and her party would have driven up the Dalton Highway. Upon finding caribou, she and her party would have backpacked out 5 miles, the legal limit, then shot and packed her animal back to the highway. I am to old for that now.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      SEAK Mossback and Elk275,

      To me the point is that she is no longer a commoner, though she plays one on television. 😉

      1. SEAK Mossback Avatar
        SEAK Mossback

        You are right — I tend to overlook driving because of the cost and time from here where we would have to pay to ferry our car up Lynn Canal to road access and then drive for a number of days each way — dealing with transporting firearms through Canada, etc. The round-trip ticket from here to Deadhorse is about $1,200 I think, but we have always cashed in air miles and parcel posted our gear directly to Kaktovik weeks ahead, which saves a huge amount (although we got our lunch pretty well eaten in one of the canyons at flood stage in a raft just light enough to mail).

        Regarding the Dalton Highway (Central Arctic Herd), packing caribou 5 miles over tussocks is a tough way to go but does reward those willing and able to put in serious physical work — probably not what Sarah had in mind. Also, bow hunters can hunt right within the corridor.

  4. Nancy Avatar

    Hey, I’m STILL having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that she was chosen to be McCain’s running mate in ’08.

    1. Salle Avatar

      In Her Defense, I’m Sure the Moose Had It Coming

      Some foul languge included but certainly on point.

  5. JimT Avatar

    There was a recent Huffington Post article about the left paying more attention to Palin’s antics that the right, and that we are keeping her in the news. I think there is some merit to this as she seems to draw comments in bunches for her inane words and activities. I say we stop feeding the beast. I know, hard…like obeying a doc who tells you not to scratch that itch…LOL..but in the end, it is good for you to do it so you heal.

    1. Virginia Avatar

      My husband, who is apolitical, agrees with you. He says Sarah is laughing all the way to the bank and if the liberal media would ignore her, that would help her to go away.

      1. SAP Avatar

        Virginia – I agree. Don’t protest her show; it’s already making her look monumentally stupid. Didn’t even work the bolt on her rifle! What’s up with that?

        Overexposure, minus the outrage/mockery from the left, is the cure for Tina. Oops, I mean Sarah. That IS her name, right?

    2. SAP Avatar

      Who’s this “Sarah Palin” you guys are going on about? Is she that really funny lady on Saturday Night Live?

      1. WM Avatar

        My red-neck next door neighbor said he would vote for either one of them, the real Sarah or the lady from SNL who impersonates her because they were both cute (“hot” were the words he used, I think). He says his mom once voted for Dan Quayle because he was handsome, so he thinks that is an OK reason for a VP vote.

    3. Tilly Avatar

      This is an excellent point. I am so sick of seeing so many pointless headlines about her. Why?? She is not smart and does nothing of note. I figure we can personally fight the obsession by refusing to click on and view such stories.

  6. Mike Avatar

    Here’s an article describing how conservatives are outraged at her handling of the weapon, her inability to tell direction. her innaccuracy, and the fact Palin senior used a rifle as a walking stick:

  7. Hilljack Avatar

    It did what it was supposed to do. Under what other circumstances would you see an article about hunting on a hollywood blog. Hunting is not always a cheap solution to providing meat and often costs about the same per pound as buying beef at the market. What hunting does is give you the experience of harvesting the meat, time with friends/family and enjoying the outdoors. The meat is also better than beef. Everyone loves to hate these days, I liked it better when people kept to themselves or ranted to friends and family.

  8. frank renn Avatar
    frank renn

    Who weighed that animal? The field guides list the weight of female Barren Ground Caribou at a range of 150 to 250 lb. If Sarah ended up with 300 lb. of meat she might have a world record.

    1. SEAK Mossback Avatar
      SEAK Mossback

      My wife shot a large-bodied bull 5 miles off the Denali Highway. The boned out meat was only 160 lbs (which seemed like 300 at the time – we also packed out heart & liver and antlers not included in that figure). I was considerably younger then and also had a tag, but fortunately found the common sense to let the other four big bulls walk. Arctic caribou seem to be a little smaller bodied, so her cow probably boned out at no more than 100 lbs., and likely less.

  9. Elk275 Avatar

    Here is some interesting comentary on the Alaskan Hunting Forum. It is started by “Bush Rat” who is a very decent man living in the Brooks Range with his family. There are 161 comments from Alaskan hunters both resident and non resident. Most of them not favorable.

    I have always said that it cost more to hunt than to purchase meat in the store.

    Jon, as far as natives needing the meat, several years ago in Point Hope the the native boys went out and shot hundreds and hundreds of caribou and left them to rot — thrill killing at it’s finest. Nothing was ever done. You can read all about it in the depths of the above blog.

    I have spent several winters in the Brooks Range and have heard natives brag about killing caribou only for the leg skins to make mukalucks

    1. WM Avatar


      Since this thread is, by its definition, turning into a hunting “how to” dialog, I want to ask, what is an appropriate caliber and bullet for a barren-ground caribou?

      And, if you have seen the video of the animal Palin shot ( I gather it was a young cow?), what is a good live weight guess, as well as how much meat will end up in the freezer?

      1. mikepost Avatar

        Roughly 35% of live weight but it is highly variable.

      2. SEAK Mossback Avatar
        SEAK Mossback

        WM and Elk,
        Any flat shooting rifle that you might use for mule deer works fine — they are not hard to kill, but tend to be found in open country. They have an amazingly large stomach, perhaps because of low nutritional content of their forage, so you definitely want to err toward missing that.

        As far as competition with local subsistence hunters, I don’t think its much of an issue with caribou. The Central Arctic Herd that Palin’s animal came from is not accessible to many villages. I have seen figures for the Porcupine Caribou Herd from which my son took a bull a few years ago and which is the subject of the wonderful film “Being Caribou”. The last population estimate I’ve seen was about 123,000 animals of which about 2,400 are taken annually by villagers from four communities (Old Crow, Arctic Village, Aklavik and Kaktovik) while the havest by non-locals ranging from other state residents to guided non-residents averages 40-50 animals (probably 95%+ bulls).

  10. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    Maureen Dowd has a nice schpiel on this Caribou Barbie hunting carnival in her New York Times column today . I’ve only eaten caribou once in my life and it was delicious…it better be, because the way Sarah Palin gets hers it costs over $ 40 / pound , not counting the cutting and wrapping.

  11. Kropotkin Man Avatar
    Kropotkin Man

    She shot Rudolph’s “wife” at Christmas time?

    1. Save bears Avatar

      Rudolph’s wife is a Reindeer…

  12. TLM Avatar

    How much of that $42 grand benefited the local economy?

  13. frank renn Avatar
    frank renn

    To Save bears, Caribou and Reindeer are the same species, (Rangifer Tarandus). Of all the native ungulates I have had the good fortune to taste they are at the top of my list.

    1. Save bears Avatar


      I am well aware of that, I was just being a smart aleck

  14. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I have traveled in the Yukon to photograph the Porcupine caribou herd migration. While there, I watched the native hunters skin caribou. All of the caribou were infested with grubs from warble flies. There were white grubs in many places on their backs under the hide.
    The flies lay their eggs on the heels of the caribou and the larva (worms) bore their way up through the leg muscles to the caribou’s back where they gnaw breathing holes in the hide where they feed on the caribou’s blood until they mature and crawl out and fall to the ground and pupate into flies and start the cycle over.
    It would be hard not to ingest these grubs or larval worms when eating caribou meat. I hope Sarah enjoys her caribou roasts.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      An enterprising reporter would try to track the disposition of the meat from her hunt.

    2. Ryan Avatar


      My family depended on caribou meat when we lived in Alaska. We killed numerous caribou out of the mulchatna herd and never saw any parasites.

  15. Dave Avatar

    Oh please, seriously? I’m disappointed.

    This was a TV show hunt, NOT a freezer-filler. Anybody with a brain can see the difference between the two. This is not news, it’s not even interesting. I’m shocked that so many ‘intellectual elites’ would stoop so low as to even comment, let alone take themselves seriously doing it…. It’s not political, it’s not scientific, it’s barely even marginally cultural. Fringe at best.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      I wrote in the post itself, not as a comment following it, this —
      “it wasn’t really a hunt to fill the Palin family freezer to get them through the winter.”

      1. Dave Avatar

        Ralph, I noted that you acknowledged the difference. Many of the other responses seemed to take it more seriously.

        This is your blog, you can post what you like… but, with all due respect (and I mean that), this isn’t the type of material that makes this site great, IMHO.

        Moose, I didn’t see the show and don’t intend to… I disagree politically with most people on this site by 180deg, but one thing we agree on is I think Palin should crawl under a rock and never come out….

        That is partly why I am surprised Ralph posted this article in the first place. Press is press. The more people ask her if she’s going to run, the more she’ll think about doing it. If she does, and wins, I’m taking my conservative self and moving out of country.

      2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


        Her popularity is fading, and publicity about her hunt should hurt her conservative credentials. I didn’t post the story because liberals would gloat, although they will. It was for conservatives.

        I did it because she is not a person of substance, IMO.

    2. Moose Avatar

      I disagree…Palin states that the freezer is running low on moose meat – she herself presents this as a freezer hunt…she has portrayed herself as a hunter many times in the past – anyone who has hunted can see that she does not handle a gun like someone who has hunted regularly – jeez, someone has to load it for her each time…after the first FOUR misses you see the guide hand her another rifle – you never do see her actually fire the shot that kills the caribou…this is someone who is angling for the 2012 presidential race – this is just another piece in the selling of Sarah as someone she really isn’t.

  16. jon Avatar

    If Obama runs in 2012 against Palin, who wins?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      That’s a scary question, but if things go right, Obama won’t be a nominee unless he gets an immediate backbone transplant.

      1. Save bears Avatar

        With the way things are going, I think come nomination time, we are actually going to see a rare event, and that is the party will not nominate the sitting president of their party…

      2. Save bears Avatar

        What is amazing to me, is how many people are obsessed with this woman, she is not going to be a viable candidate come 2012! Most of the Republican party don’t even like her, she is getting far to much press time and people, good or bad are eating it up!!!!

      3. jon Avatar

        She quit being governor as Alaska. Who does that? You get elected by the people and than you quit halfway through because you don’t wanna do it anymore? That is a slap in the face to all those who put her in that governor office. If being gov. was too much for her to handle, you can imagine what being president would do to her. Just like Obama, I find her very arrogant. I also wonder why Mccain picked her to run as his vp back in 2008. This is like a doomsday scenario when you think of the possibility that someone like Palin will become our president.

      4. Elk275 Avatar

        I think that the Democratic Party is going to nominate Hilary, just my guess. She has done a good job as Secratary of the State.

      5. DB Avatar

        Buck up boys, Obama did what kerry and Gore could not do. Abandon Obama at your peril. Hillary? You hate compromise, you won’t want Hillary. If Bill wasn’t the biggest compromiser in the world, what makes you think Hillary would be any different? You think you could find another progressive who get’s elected in 2012? Your only hope would be vs Palin. You think Barack doesn’t know the environment? Hillary could care even less. Be careful what you wish for. Does anyone in this country have any patience?

      6. Save bears Avatar


        I didn’t vote for him the first time..

      7. jon Avatar

        If Palin runs, she still has a slim chance of winning especially if going up against Obama. Whether we want to admit it or not, Palin is pretty popular to some and you know she has conservatives on her side and the tea partiers among other people, a fair # of them I bet. What is really scary is the thought of Palin running this country. She would be an environmentalist’s worst nightmare. I never like Hillary.

      8. Ryan Avatar

        “She quit being governor as Alaska. Who does that?”


        Lets see, Obama, Biden, Kerry, Just about any politican that runs for election.

        So which is worse, a politican that quits his or her position, or one that endlessly campaigns for a new position, ignoring his or her current position while getting paid by the taxpayers?

  17. Izabela Hadd Avatar
    Izabela Hadd look how many comments we have here on caribou barbie….let’s concentrate on the new Idaho issue with suspensing the plan for the wolves…
    who gives a hoot about SP?
    what can we do about this problme now?

  18. Bobbie Avatar

    It is just appalling that Palin would say that she NEEDS to hunt to fill her freezer. She hunts because she wants to portray herself as the good ole country girl and recruit support from like minded people!! Of course she does not hunt because she has to fill her freezer!! She is a millionaire !! The Native people of Alaska on the other hand probably do have to hunt to supplement their food!

    But then again it shouldn’t surprise me that once again she opens her mouth and out comes stupidity !!!

  19. Mike Koeppen Avatar

    If we’re watching the TV news, and Sarah Palin is the topic, my wife wants me to change the channel. If I don’t, she’ll leave the room. She might be on to something…

  20. Kayla Avatar

    Personally it is her life and her money. If this is how she wants to spend her money, fine be it for this is America. And the last thing which I knew is what she did was totally withen the law. I live here in Wyoming where how many people I know hunt and some of them do have money. If someone is going to criticize Palin on this when there is sooooo many other issues that need to be talked about then all I can say is ‘Good Grief’. She also IS a millionaire!

    And again will say if this is all that some people can complain about with ALLLLL the Other Issues around and about then get a grip on yourself and put your energies somewhere that might accomplish something. Part of the fame and money that she has came into is a direct result from so many trying to ridicule her every move.

    Again there are how many other issues that need to be addressed. Good Grief!

    1. Save bears Avatar

      Way to go Kayla, very well said L*** E**** Woman!


    2. Nancy Avatar

      Kayla, be sure and google the 4 Senerios of the Coming Collapse of the American Empire on Alternet when you have a moment……goes hand in hand with “with those other issues” that need to be addressed.

      1. Kayla Avatar

        Nancy, Good Article! There is indeed some rough days ahead in my opinion. Have a Good Day!

  21. wolf moderate Avatar
    wolf moderate

    Wow. I read this on Christmas eve? Now I’m depressed lol. Great article. Thanks.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan