The Mighty Hunter

Scott has been moose hunting since he was a child. He’s seen his grandfather, dad, and uncle shoot and butcher moose his entire life. As an adult and as long as we have been married he has never had success on a hunt. Well, let me clarify. He’s been in successful hunting parties and has shot a bear which is pelted and hanging on our wall but never killed a moose himself.

Since he didn’t have the best of hunting luck while in Fairbanks we were on the kill list. The kill list is in fact a list that is managed by the state and if a moose is killed by a motorist you’ll get a phone call to collect your moose. We got phone calls in the middle of the night before. It’s not convenient but you get moose to fill your freezer. One year we got a middle of the night call but the state started contracting out to a company to collect the moose for the charity or family on the list. It seemed like a good idea but the person who collected the moose for us in the middle of the night didn’t drop the guts so in the morning when it was delivered the moose was bloated and foul. We weren’t able to salvage anything. That was frustrating for us. Such a waste.

Our family enjoys moose meat. We usually get sausage, burger, roasts, pepperoni sticks and I’ll make jerky from the roasts. If you process the moose yourself you can save a lot of money on food and you know what’s in your meat. No fillers, no by products. Just good ole organic meat. That’s why we were so happy when Scott was successful this year!

Scott and our friend Nick went out and Scott shot a bull within 20 minutes of unpacking. I didn’t believe him. Neither did the boys but minutes later we had proof.

Very early in our texting I made it clear there wouldn’t be another skull in our house. He saved the bear skull and it’s meant for a den or man cave. Not my living room. I really didn’t want to add another skull. They aren’t easy to blend in amongst flowers and pretty figurines. He has his heart set on a European mount like this…

So as a compromise I said that whatever the cost of that mount is, I will get that much money to spend on myself. Fair right?!? It made me happy.

When the mighty hunter came home we got straight to work processing the meat. Lots of burger and cube steaks were made the first night. Our helpers were working in full force. Lots of arguing over who got to drop the meat into the grinder.

Kierran was kept busy decorating the packages. The next day our friends Chad and Cindy came over to help process the rest. We had more burger, roasts, steaks, and pulled stuff aside for sausage and pepperoni sticks and I was going to try my hand at canning! Two friends talked about how great it was so I gave it a go. We have 13 quarts of canned moose meat now. I’ll let you know how that turns out. I’ve been told it’s great for tacos, stroganoff and meals of the such when you forget to take meat out of the freezer or need something done quick.

We have two freezers full of moose and salmon. We are blessed indeed!

Bears!

Growing up and living in Fairbanks I expected moose to be around. After 30+ years it never got old seeing them. If possible I’d pull over to take some pictures or just watch them from the living room windows. I always respected the moose and never followed or crowded them. They can be dangerous if provoked but I never felt scared really. Here in Valdez there aren’t moose, they have bears and that scares me.

When I lived here for 4 years, 11 years ago, I never saw one bear and I was fine with that. Having been back now for almost 2 months I’ve seen 5 bears. The first one was running along the tree line and I said “Look at the doooo…that’s a bear!!” Next time a mom and baby ran across the road one vehicle in front of me and the last time Scott and I were headed home from dropping off the boys at school and these two biggies were hanging out by the side of the road.

A lot like the moose in Fairbanks, seeing these creatures won’t get old. I’m just scared! These are bears!!