Palin opposed bear hunt in sanctuary, exchange reveals

In one of her earliest communications as the new governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin reminded an aide that she was a hunter, but she opposed a request to allow bear hunting in a certain part of the state.

“But — he’s asking if I support hunting bears in the sanctuary? No, I don’t ... I don’t know any Alaskans who do support hunting the McNeil bears that frequent the viewing area,” Palin wrote to aide Meghan Stapleton. “Many Alaskan and Outside visitors view these animals on the McNeil river, within the sanctuary, and, as my parents reported back after their viewing trip, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see such beauty on that river.”

The email was one of the first made public in response to requests by several news organizations for Palin’s emails after she was selected as John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate in 2008.

Palin speculated in the Jan. 2, 2007, email that the issue of hunting brown bears in the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge must have been pushed by “a few guides who take Outside hunters who pay thousands and thousands of dollars to hunt near the area because it may be an easy hunt.”

The Web page for the McNeil sanctuary shows about a dozen people standing along the river where a roughly equal number of bears is in the water searching for salmon.

Palin said in the email sent just under a month after she took office that it was important to learn the details of the proposal before the state game board “as the issue comes across as ‘do you support killing bears in the sanctuary or not?’, but there usually is more to the issue than a strong opponent (like Bill S.) leads one to believe. Knowing what I know of the issue thus far — I don’t support hunting the bears that frequent the viewing area/sanctuary.”

The Bill S. to which Palin referred apparently was a writer, Bill Sherwonit.

Stapleton had urged Palin to respond to him “as soon as you can — this one is nasty.”

About 24,000 emails were released by the Alaska state government.


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