A recent Gallup poll indicates that many Americans are concerned about a presidential or vice presidential candidate's knowledge and experience with moose. A surprising 84% of respondents said that the extent of a candidate's moose hunting experience could be a deciding factor in their vote (of those, half also said having children who do not play hockey could be a deal breaker).
Sixty-seven percent said that they believe a candidate's ability to field dress a moose is more important than their foreign policy record. Finally, 58% said that a candidate's specific mastery of step nine of field dressing a moose (separating the anus and bladder from the carcass) is "very relevant."
Moose were one of the major themes at the Republic National Convention that concluded on Thursday. In all the speeches given by various McCain supporters, "moose" was said more than any other word with the exception of "a," "the," "country," and "first." Analysts say the importance of moose experience to voters, especially conservatives, was the primary reason for Senator McCain's pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, given his own relative lack of moose experience.
As mayor of the small town of Wasila, Alaska, Palin split the pelvic bone of a moose using the two-axe method in record time while keeping the genitals intact and avoiding cutting the urinary tract, which could result in the release of urine and taint the meat.
Democratic nominee Barack Obama has been criticized by some for his inability to shoot and kill large mammals and properly preserve their meat (as well as the fact that none of his daughters play hockey).
"While Obama was in Illinois doing nothing but helping out poor communities and spouting lofty, empty rhetoric about this and that, Sarah Palin was cutting the remaining moose tissue holding the diaphragm to the back of the chest wall, thereby freeing the major organs from the carcass," said Mike Gremski, a hunter and McCain-Palin supporter. "I wonder if he's ever even shot a raccoon going through his garbage."
Palin has announced her intention to challenge Democratic vice presidential rival Joe Biden to a moose field dressing contest for their first debate.