Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Kicking It up in Alaska

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

Special to The Village News

What you probably do not know is the whole month of September is moose-hunting season across Alaska.

On one hand, those crafty native Innuits want you to buy a moose tag; on the other hand, as you are invited up to shoot a moose anywhere within the state, there is one wee caveat: many villages require each hunter to present him/her/they/them/their oneself in person. To further clarify, no one can buy another person’s moose tag. Which means each hunter must actually fly into a village, then find a way to get to and from the Fish and Game outpost, present government I.D., pay the fee, and then fly back out. Sometimes the next day. It can be a process.

All the while the native council purposely tries to make it hard on those flying in from other parts of the planet in order to preserve the wild food supply for locals. Period.

There is more.

On the occasion when statewide moose numbers are drastically reduced, no doubt due to global warming caused by jet emission pollution from private jets as flown in by self important-pontificating Dems like Leonardo, the ex-royal Sussexes, and not to be overlooked, Mr. John Kerry. All who shame us while flying privately in other people’s private jets like Sir Elton John or his Heinz-57-Heiress-Mr. Kerry’s wife’s private jet, as they publicly decry their innocence because “I personally don’t now or have ever owned a jet.” All the time not disclosing the frequency in which Mr. Kerry flies all around in his Heinz 57-Heiress wife’s jet. And probably on a self-important occasion uses Ex-Vice-President Al Gore’s private jet.

In years when there is a low-moose count, hunters may still need to appear in person at a nearby Fish and Game outpost to buy his/her/their own moose tag for it to be entered into the statewide lottery without any assurance of getting a tag. It can be a pricey gamble. The requirements become more stringent when the herds are reduced, creating stronger measures to acquire a tag for a 30-day chance to hunt said artiodactyl.

Again, by limiting the tags, it all boils down to preserving the wild food source for the people who actually live in the villages.

Which all leads to why I’m going to the edge of the electrical grid in Alaska. Now get this, not only am I going to be away from civilization, I’m also going to be without public utilities.

Here is what’s up. I will be joining my daughter for the month of September. Her fiance will be leading hunting expeditions into the woods leaving behind 16-sled dogs that require daily care. Here’s the thing, sled dogs are high-energy canines that appear half-wild-and-half-mutt. They are bred for their agility, speed, and desire to run. To me, they seem like they're wild, partly because they live outside year round and eat raw meat. Otherwise, I guess, they'd be pets.

Deborah’s beau Matt is the embodiment of an Alaskan-manly-man. Primarily, he is a fishing ‘n’ hunting guide although his other skills are equally impressive. For instance, he can fell a tree and chop it into bits to build a cabin. He can fix a snowmobile. He can field dress any animal, regardless of size. And since the crucial fuel where they live is wood, he chops cords of it to sell to his neighbors. Matt has mushed across the frozen tundra, camped in the snow, and lived off the land. While that would seem like enough, to round out the package, he has black eyes and wavy-black hair which suggests that somewhere in his lineage he is a descendant of a French trapper.

Some might even call Matt handsome because his eyes twinkle with mischief when he laughs. It is all so romantic, right? Yeah, whatever.

I’ll be staying with Deborah while Matt trudges in the wilderness guiding groups of hunters across the far reaches of the Yukon for the month of September. It works like this, each group comes in on a bush plane to the camp to hunt for about a week. They will stalk big-antlered moose and possibly even bear.

Just to let you know, locally, bears are called rodents, albeit they are the big hairy 400-pound ones. Apparently, the bear population has grown so big now those frisky grizzlies boldly meander into villages looking for food. Rapidly they are becoming a dangerous menace creating an unsafe environment for children and small animals. Which explains why a hunter is allowed to bag five bears without a license. Ye gads.

Don’t feel sorry for the bears because even while they are a nuisance, the natives honor each one by using the entire animal carcass. They’ll tan the hide, boil the meat for dog food, and use the teeth and claws for adornment. As a side note to all environmentalists: each bear is 100% recycled.

To be continued…

Elizabeth can be reached at [email protected].


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