Home > Trip > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2013 > Daily Dispatch #36

February 5, 2013: Rise and Shine Moosey Moosey

It’s 11 a.m., still early around here. Outside my window are moose tracks, snaking up the hill, making a wide detour around the bush. The morning light illuminates these tracks.

Moose are everywhere around here. We see them by the side of the roads, and in the roads. Sometimes they are moving, and sometimes still. Sometimes they have antlers, and sometimes not. Sometimes they’re very big, and sometimes they’re very small. They appear to have been made with left over tinker toys and play dough. God gathered all that was left after putting the other animals together

and created moose. The moose is really the structural laughingstock of the ungulate world.

Locally, we’ve changed their migratory habits, putting houses, and sheds, and fenced garden sites, and fences in their pathways. Our community had an opportunity to give them an assist when we were putting together our area comprehensive plan. Our first chapter was entitled “Green Infrastructure.” And it was here that we suggested that we locate and take the migratory pathways of all animals into consideration when putting in roads, building houses, and the like.

I suspected that this idea was too broad in scope to be taken seriously by area property owners. And it would have been difficult to determine exactly what the moving/browsing patterns of moose actually are. But putting our ideas in writing would have been a step in the right direction, for those who live here would have been saying that we have a healthy and abiding respect for area wildlife.

Our comprehensive plan was killed by a group of right wing fundamentalists, who erroneously believed that it was about zoning, which is an infringement on their personal rights. So, life continued on its same old standard route. Nothing changed, and nothing ever will. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game continues to issue what I call “harvest” permits, which are granted in order that the numbers of moosey moosey be kept in check. No matter that last year the winter death rate was higher than usual. We’re being told that in our game management area, which is 14-A, that there are more moose than ever. Maybe so, maybe not.

I often wonder, what if the moose made a systematic attempt to curtail our routes, by putting up roadblocks at intersections and area trail heads? Okay, yeah, we’d blow them to smithereens, because this is what we have the ability to do. And the resultant slaughter would be justified, particularly after the meat was distributed to area residents.

Moose road kill permits are a good thing. Our community (with borough money) purchased a flatbed trailer (so that the dead moose could be hauled away) and other butchering paraphernalia. It was supposedly stolen from the residence where it was being kept. Yep, we humans have a long ways to go before we figure certain things out, like how to deal with moose overflow.

Oddly enough, the moose are an area draw. Tourists take thousands of photos of them, and then show them to friends.

I’m not for harvesting moose. This isn’t even a sport anymore. It used to be that men would go into the woods on foot, during a limited hunting season. Now they go into the woods in vehicles, during an extended hunting season. Some say that wild game is good for you. Well, less wild game may be even better for you.

Next: 37. 2/6/13: The Bees Knees and Conditioning Horses