Palin first gripped a gun at eight, had her first kill at ten

Anchorage (Alaska), Sept.15: Alaska Governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin first gripped a gun at the age of eight and made her first kill at ten.

The moose hunting mum-of-five grew up shooting animals and skinning them on the spot before hauling the meat home for the family freezer.

Sarah's dad Chuck Heath told The Sun: "Sarah was always very determined. Whatever she lacked in skill she always made up in determination. She always tried her hardest to be the best at everything she did. She was also very stubborn. I wasn't mean to her but I taught her discipline. But I could seldom bend her if she'd made her mind up on something."

"She is a really good shot. I taught her to shoot a moose and dress it, to fish and hunt for game. We raised our family to be able to support ourselves - 90 per cent of our meat and fish we get ourselves," he adds.

He admitted he was in a "dreamland" when Palin accepted the offer to run with Presidential hopeful John McCain.

Heath, who retired from teaching science and now works for the Federal Wildlife Services Program, continued: "I would tell those boys in Washington, 'Don't underestimate her.'

"She's a hard worker and a determined lady. The Democrats won't break her."

Palin served two terms as mayor of her home town of Wasilla, then in 2006 became Alaska's youngest and first female governor.

Now, at 44, the former beauty queen aims to become the USA's first female Vice-President.

Until Sarah was named as McCain's running mate, her neighbours could walk right up to her front door.

Now they have to get past a wall of state troopers and an army of secret service agents, dressed noticeably in black and whispering into radios. Just to be extra safe, two gunboats from the Alaska coastguard are on the fishing lake.

In Alaska, hunter Palin has an approval rating somewhere north of 80 per cent - something akin to the Holy Grail in politics.

The Wasilla, locals explain it is for reasons including "she's a darn good shot and doesn't take any nonsense from nobody" to "she's the best goddamn-looking governor in the country."

Copyright Asian News International/