Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Road Kill List - warning graphic images

A few posts ago I wrote about the Road Kill List - if a moose, bear, deer or caribou is killed by a vehicle, there are people who have put their name on this list who are contacted. They have a limited amount of time to get to the dead animal and butcher it on site. As I was driving along on the Richardson Highway near Delta Junction, I saw a very damaged semi truck parked on the side of the road, and just ahead on my side of the road were two vehicles parked and two men were in the ditch. I stopped to see if everyone was ok and one of the men said they had a moose road kill. The semi truck had hit and killed the moose, and the man on the kill list was called while he was at work. He and his son immediately located the moose and got to work. If you can't respond when you are called, you are eliminated from the list. Timing is crucial to butcher the animal while the meat is fresh. I stopped to watch for a while, and the father and son were happy to explain everything. There were three children in one of the cars, babbling away in Russian, apparently unfazed by the butchering. Warning - these photos are not for the faint of heart, but I found the whole thing fascinating. If you want to understand a bit about Alaska and how different life is up here, it's good to experience some things you might never see elsewhere.

The head of the animal is not usable, so it is removed and discarded, left for other animals to eat. The lower legs have also been removed and discarded so it's difficult to see just how tall the animal was. These are very big creatures.

The truck's load was picked up by another semi, but the truck is total loss.

Thank you to these two men who took the time to talk to me about this process. They offered to give me a steak but I would have had to stick around for a while. Alaska is a very different way of life. It's about oil, hunting, and fishing. I was told by these men that most Alaskans own guns. But the reasons they own guns here are different than the "lower 48" - according to the two men. Hunting sustains their lives, and protection from bears and wolves is necessary. However you feel about gun ownership, it's a part of Alaskan life.

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