Letter to the Editor of Field & Stream

Feb 14, 2013 by

Letter to the Editor of Field & Stream

I sent the following letter to the editor of Field & Stream in response to an article, Sarah Palin’s Shooting by David E. Petzal, posted at their site. It’s disappointing that the letter even had to be written to a publication such as theirs, but the inaccuracies will not go unanswered.

February 13, 2013

Dear Editor,

As a fan of Field and Stream dating back to my childhood, it was very disheartening to read David Petzal’s hit piece on my father Chuck Heath, and my sister Sarah Palin’s caribou hunt in the TLC show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Why Mr. Petzal chose to write something like this nearly three years after the fact is perplexing…a cry for attention perhaps?

I shared the article with my parents and my mother responded by saying, “This is so ridiculous that it doesn’t even merit a response.”

Mom’s probably right but I guess I’m too stubborn to drop it that easily.

Petzal implying that Sarah has no experience with guns is akin to the bogus Washington Post story this week that said Sarah is going to work for Al Jazeera. Even a tiny bit of digging would have lead Mr. Petzal to a completely different conclusion.

So please allow me to set some facts straight:

First of all, I can’t recall the first time my sisters and I ever pulled the trigger on a rifle. We were too young to remember. Guns have been a part of my family for generations. My father and I recently wrote a book (Our Sarah: Made in Alaska) that chronicles some of our early hunting experiences.

So what are the facts? For one, Mr. Petzal leads the reader to believe that Sarah didn’t sight her gun in before the hunt. Totally untrue. The day before they set out after their prey, Sarah and Dad were consistently “driving tacks from 100 yards” (as Dad put it) with Sarah’s .225 Winchester. Those of you who watched the show in its entirety know that while walking across the tundra, Dad slipped and fell while carrying Sarah’s gun. He didn’t realize at the time that he had knocked the scope askew.

When it came time for Sarah to take her shot, she took aim, fired, and missed badly. Dad (or one of the nitwits as Petzal cruely refers to him) is visibly frustrated. After sixty-plus years of continual hunting and big game guiding, he has earned that right. Even at nearly 75 years old, I doubt Petzal could keep up with him. When it becomes obvious that Sarah’s scope is out of whack, she switches guns with Dad’s buddy, Becker. (By the way, Becker is not a guide as Petzal mentions in his piece, nor is he a nitwit).

As Sarah gets ready to fire Becker’s Remington 7mm Magnum, she asks if it has much of a kick. Why? Because her .225 doesn’t kick and she can keep her eye closer to the scope. My mom once had a nasty circle cut around her eye doing the same thing and Sarah never forgot that.

Once Sarah settled in with the 7mm, she dropped her caribou in one shot.

By the way, the day after the hunt, Dad set up some paper plates at fifty yards and couldn’t hit them with the .225. The scope was that far off.

If you doubt any of the things I’ve said perhaps you should talk to some of the people that were actually there. Here are a few of them:

-Stryker Overly – guide from Tok, Alaska
-Greg Jennen – owner of Alaska Glacier Mountain Outfitters in Two Rivers, Alaska
-John Pontz – bush pilot from Unalakleet, Alaska
-Mitch Tanen – Television Producer with Mark Burnett Productions
-Steve Becker – commercial fisherman and hunting buddy

Mitch Tanen in particular had this to say: “I’m sorry to hear that the magazine is calling into question the authenticity of the hunt we showed in that episode. I don’t know how to say it plain enough…the actual hunt and the story of all the events of that hunt as laid out in the episode are all true. There were always no less then ten people following Sarah, your father and Steve Becker during the four-day shoot. So in addition to your father and Steve Becker, an additional producer, at least two camera operators, two audio mixers, several PA’s, a coordinator, medical personnel, safety personnel and at least one of the two bush pilots we depended on to get us out into the bush from Kavik Camp, were there and had eyes on Sarah at the moment she shot the caribou. To suggest that somehow all of these individuals (including me) with our own differing political views would risk the professional reputations some of us have spent a life time building to make up something like that for the good of a television show is both ignorant and insulting.”

Petzal’s piece is full of gaping holes and tarnishes the reputation of everyone who was involved in that hunt.

As Sarah explains, “He’s the typical lying SOB-type that I’ve been dealing with since 2008. I’m very disappointed in Field & Stream for printing his garbage. This made-up fantasy of the columnist ranks right up there with yesterday’s report in the Washington Post that claims I’m working for Al Jazeera. My retort to that one was: ‘Uum, right… and tomorrow I’m having coffee with Elvis at the Mocha Moose in Wasilla.’ Really, these silly people need to get a life!”

Thank you,
Chuck Heath, Jr.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mariah.boland.71 Mariah Boland

    Well…You see…People are…Hmmm…What’s the word? Idiots!! They would do Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to get their name out there. And trust me on that one. I was like that. Some people have no reguard for others. Too selfish…Thank You for writting that letter!! ;)

  • BermudaBob

    And here I thought Elvis dropped that caribou. :-)

    Even when they showed SPA, they showed your dad slipping going down that little embankment.


  • http://twitter.com/PaMom4Palin PaMom4Palin

    Well we can now put Field and Stream (this breaks my heart they stooped to this) into the #IDOTMEDIA and we can say #sotUGottaBKiddingMe!
    I watched the episode…and anyone who did would know why the gun was off…pretty sure they didn’t nor did the ppl posting comments!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1276108093 Katie DiFrancesco

    Right on, Chuck! I had to put up with that garbage during my Monroe Community College days! I lost track of how many times I’ve had to set the record straight – and people still don’t believe me!

  • sarahhasmyvote

    We just have to keep fighting back. Another low information voter strikes again.

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  • generictrainee

    It’s interesting why they chose to write an attack piece now. It tells us something , I wonder who the writer is a proxy for.

    • BrianusBerkleianus

      GREAT point, generictrainee!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-Lynn/1831312967 Sue Lynn

      Mark Levin had just warned about lies leaked to LSM…we have their number!!! Great job Chuck Jr.!!!

  • Firelight

    Chuck, you are an amazing brother and son! Thank you for taking the time to set the record straight. Please thank Mitch Tanen for his statement. I’m sure it is exhausting to have to keep making statements 3 years later on something so obvious but the #IdiotMedia just can’t help themselves. As they say, there is no cure for stupid. As for Field and Stream, I am so disappointed that they would stoop this low. They have chosen the political route and I am now done with them.

    • BrianusBerkleianus

      Bravo, Firelight!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/IsabelM.Matos Isabel Matos

    Awesome post.

    • BrianusBerkleianus

      Amen, Isabel!!

  • BrianusBerkleianus

    Bravo, Chuck; thanks!! That episode of SPAK is one of my favorites, and I have watched it multiple times. Thank you so very much for your trenchant, lucid, and loyal defense of your sister and your dad!!! Also, Sarah explains in the final episode of the show what was going on with the gun, namely that the scope/sighting was off because of your dad’s fall. You guys have faced lies, slander, filth, even death threats, and yet you bravely soldier on … for US, for AMERICA. Millions of us will never forget all that you guys do and have done. God bless.

  • Garym

    So I’m guessing Mr. Petzal didn’t see the episodes where Sarah was nailing those clay pidgens while teaching Bristol? Or when she was on target shooting the “charging bear” with a shot gun? This was just another “look at me” piece from someone suffering with PDS.

    • BrianusBerkleianus

      Great points, Garym; thanks!!

  • http://praying4commonsense.blogspot.com nala3325

    Two thumbs up for setting the record straight, Chuck Jr. Petzal was too lazy and close-minded to fact-check.

  • exodus2011

    Good Job ChuckJr —> ^5! Every time lies, distortions are published we will SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT

    • BrianusBerkleianus

      Hi, Ex!!!!! It is great to see you! God BLESS!!!!

      • exodus2011

        Hi Brianus! —> ^5! Patriot


        • BrianusBerkleianus

          :-) !!!!

    • blueniner

      Hi Ex, nice to see you here.

      • exodus2011

        Hi blue **__**

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-Lynn/1831312967 Sue Lynn

    Prayers go out to Sally Heath for a speedy recovery!!!!

  • RichardNC

    Excellent response Chuck. It amazes me that your family continues to live rent-free in the heads of so many people.

    If this Petzal character was face to face with Becker and your Dad he would wet his pants long before he ever found the courage to call them nitwits.

    Keep up the good fight and always remember that there are literally millions of us that have your family’s back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1147091082 Lynda Armstrong

    Way to go big brother

  • http://twitter.com/PHHHHHH P H

    Excellent response Chuck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1215760161 Nancy Kehrer

    I knew right away why Sarah missed on the show. Anyone writing an article for that magazine should have known right away also. I can’t believe the editor would publish something like this unless he is intentionally trying to slander the Palin’s. It is obvious that people are still afraid Sarah and her powerful message of trying to uphold our constitutional freedoms.

  • MaMcGriz

    Good grief. This guy writes for Field & Stream??? Did they hire him away from HuffPo?

    Put him on the list of people to NEVER take camping and most especially to never ever agree to take hunting. It’s just too too dangerous to have someone like that around. They’ll get you hurt.

    Thank you for this excellent letter. I hope it’s one of many they get this week and which they so richly deserve. I’ll forward it to others and ask them to do the same.

    Pending the appropriate response from the magazine, I will henceforth think of it as Out-in-left-field and pds-Stream-of-un-consciousness.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for a retraction, correction and apology from them, but I will confidently anticipate the soon-coming plunge in F&S readership if said apologies are not forthcoming and made in earnest.

    Meanwhile, everything they sling at y’all is gonna blow back on them and produce double blessings for you. It’s a promise that can’t fail, as we’ve seen demonstrated so many times in Sarah’s case.

    Good work, big bro. They need to quit messin’ with your baby sister.

    • RomanBarbarian

      But you know they won’t quit, MaMc!

  • RomanBarbarian

    Thank you, Chuck and Mr. Tanen. We are all SICK of these liars, impostors, lazy bums who don’t have anything better to do than spreading lies and vilify our Sarah. Exposing them is the best thing to do, even though I understand your Mom’s feelings.
    But we know, they will never stop and so won’t we.

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  • http://barracudabrigade.blogspot.com/ Alicia Luke

    Way to set’em straight !!!

  • section9

    Chuck, this was a great post. It’s good that you did this, and that you did it quickly. As Mr. Churchill said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the Truth gets its pants on!”. Keep fighting for the truth, Chuck! Your sister does!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ima-Lindatoo/100000124279317 Ima Lindatoo

    WOOT! You get’em Chuck! Gotta love your integrity and stand up character in setting the record straight. Something these cowards are not used. to. Funny how honesty takes you a long way.

  • John B. Hefmier

    Brothercuda smackdown!!

  • c4pfan

    Thank you for being there for Sarah! You are such a great brother to her. :)

    Oh, and kiss Sophia for me for a Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1189342381 Emelyne Roth

    Excellent article Sir! I can’t believe they’re talking about something 3 years ago, and trying to spin it into something negative! We all know Sarah is an excellent shot, and ya she could whoop their booty on the hunting field anyday! I detect jealousy and lots of it… eh!

  • http://us4palin.com devitor

    I commented on the original article and included links to my original stories about this three years ago. We’ll see if F&S runs it. For everyone’s reference, here are the articles I wrote about this matter back in 2010 and early 2011:

    Leftist Gun “Experts” Redux: A PalinTwibe Exclusive

    Gov Palin is a Real Hunter

    Suddenly Gun Haters are Gun Experts. Really?

    Gov Palin When Zeroed, Locked on Target: One Shot, One Kill

    And good that you wrote this letter to set the record straight, though judging from the comments – many of the people there don’t get it and still believe Petzal’s distorted version of what happened.

    • BrianusBerkleianus

      Thanks, Ron!!

  • Alan Carr

    Can you set the record straight about the story of Todd running a prostitution ring?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=605673516 Keith Sparbanie

    Great letter, Chuck. These scum bags are relentless, aren’t they? And they feed off of each other at Sarah’s expense… http://wonkette.com/501546/field-stream-gun-nuts-columnist-zapruders-sarah-palin

  • blueniner

    The trolls have now inflitrated outdoor magazines, I am surprised they didnt contend that that scene in Sarah Palins Alaska was produced on a Hollywood soundstage, ala the contentions the Moon landing was a Hollywood fake production. Like Sarah said,”quit making stuff up”!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-Lynn/1831312967 Sue Lynn

    Chuck Jr. did they ever give you a response!!!! They will not get a damn dime from me! Rock on…Game On..and I’m Movin!!!

  • Lynn Antink

    Great rebuttal. I miss seeing Sarah in the news. She is a ray of sunshine.

  • mosin tom

    What passes for “journalism” today is a far cry from what it should be. It seems that anyone that can use a keyboard and can write a hack-job article can be called a journalist.