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Roadkill moose program in Alaska puts meat on tables of poor people
Rocky Mountain News ^ | 26 Dec 01 | Rachel D'Oro

Posted on 12/26/2001 8:08:03 AM PST by real saxophonist

Roadkill moose program in Alaska puts meat on tables of poor people

By Rachel D'Oro , Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The moose calf loitered near its dead mother when Billy Dickerson Jr. and his nephew arrived to collect the carcass.

Dickerson and Cody Dyer parked their pickup near the sports center of Alaska Pacific University, in midtown Anchorage. Then they trudged through deep snow and dense woods behind the complex, heading uphill toward the dark form of the fallen cow. Startled, the calf bolted.

"I think it's big enough to survive winter," Dickerson said of the calf. He then turned his attention to the work at hand -- salvaging the meat for charity.

It's an act repeated hundreds of times each year. Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection troopers coordinate a roadkill program that puts moose meat on the tables of poor Alaskans. Nonprofit groups, including churches, sign up to take turns collecting the remains of animals hit by cars and trains. Under the program rules, they must give the meat away to anyone who asks.

Other states have roadkill programs, but primarily for smaller animals such as elk and deer, not moose, which can weigh half a ton or more. Maine is among the few Lower 48 states with moose. It gives motorists first right to roadkills, then donates unwanted animals to the needy.

Charity takes priority in Alaska, where vehicles kill about 700 moose annually and trains kill about 120 a year.

Those averages put the state behind only Sweden, where 4,000 to 6,000 moose are road casualties each year, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Often, traffic collisions only maim moose, so authorities must shoot the animals. In the Anchorage area, that job frequently goes to Fish and Game wildlife biologist Rick Sinnott, who shot the university moose after it was seen limping around the school grounds.

A trooper dispatcher then called Dickerson, 41, whose name was next on the contact list as a representative of the Anchorage Baptist Temple.

"This isn't for everyone," Dickerson said, tying a nylon rope around the dead moose's neck.

A lifetime hunter, Dickerson estimated the 1,100-pound animal would yield 700 pounds of meat. But first, he and 14-year-old Cody had to figure out the best route to drag it through 300 yards of spruce. Otherwise, they'd be forced to cut it outdoors, not a pleasant prospect with the temperature at 15 degrees above zero and dropping as the sun set.

Dickerson was undaunted by the possibility, even though he was dressed only in T-shirt and slacks. Field dressing a moose in bitter cold releases a gush of steam that generates a lot of heat, he said.

By this time, his father, Billy Dickerson Sr., had pulled into the university parking lot with Cody's brother, Tyler Dyer, 19. The elder Dickerson's task was to pull the animal to his truck with a winch.

In the woods, Billy Dickerson Jr. and his nephews tugged hard on the rope. A half-hour later, the moose was in the bed of the truck. Next it would be butchered at Dickerson's house, then donated to the Anchorage Rescue Mission.

To spread the bounty, troopers run the roadkill program in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula, said Eileen Brooks, program coordinator for the Anchorage region and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

"It gives more folks a chance for free meat," said Brooks, known among colleagues as the Queen of the Gut Pile. "A lot of people can't afford to buy steaks or even hamburger, at least judging from the calls I get."

Brooks said 99 nonprofit organizations are signed up this winter in the area she manages.

Among them is Abbott Loop Community Church, a two-decade participant that averages 10 moose a year, according to member Steve Tandy. The meat is distributed through a community food pantry at the church.

"We always have lots of moose available to whoever wants it," Tandy said. "We never turn anyone away."

Participants occasionally are called to salvage black bears, Dall sheep or mountain goats, Brooks said. But the great majority of collisions involve moose. In Brooks' jurisdiction alone, 151 moose have been killed between Oct. 1 and Friday. That's above average for this time of year, she said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 12/26/2001 8:08:03 AM PST by real saxophonist
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To: real saxophonist
Say "CHEESE"!
2 posted on 12/26/2001 8:11:45 AM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: real saxophonist

3 posted on 12/26/2001 8:13:02 AM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: real saxophonist
Real hunters don't use guns.


4 posted on 12/26/2001 8:15:06 AM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: Species8472; RightWhale
ping
5 posted on 12/26/2001 8:17:56 AM PST by kayak
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To: real saxophonist
As long as they don't hurt Bullwinkle, I guess it's OK.
6 posted on 12/26/2001 8:18:04 AM PST by capt. norm
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To: real saxophonist
A lifetime hunter, Dickerson estimated the 1,100-pound animal would yield 700 pounds of meat.

That's nothing. I was driving through Wisconsin and hit a 1200-pound cheese once.

7 posted on 12/26/2001 8:19:55 AM PST by LJLucido
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To: kayak

8 posted on 12/26/2001 8:20:06 AM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
This is obviously a fresh-water moose. The real thrill is to go out in the blue water and go for deep-sea moose. Nothing is more exciting than to hear the first mate call out "Antlers in the surf!"... and you let out your line with some salt-water moose bait on it.

Somehow, even a really big string of fresh-water moose seems dull by comparison.

9 posted on 12/26/2001 8:23:07 AM PST by capt. norm
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To: LJLucido
Guy I worked with was on his way to work in Juneau. Came up on a moose laying down, resting in the middle of the road. He couldn't go around him because of the snow. He honked, bumped him; tried everything he could think of, the moose wouldn't budge. Finally backed up to where he could turn around, went home and "called in moose".

On another note, these people are nuts. That moose will trample them if upset

10 posted on 12/26/2001 8:24:58 AM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: real saxophonist

Roadkill moose program in Alaska puts meat on tables of poor people

This is a title that says to me...

...MOVE ON! MOVE ALONG! SAVE YOUR STOMACH!

Dan

11 posted on 12/26/2001 8:25:57 AM PST by BibChr
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To: capt. norm

12 posted on 12/26/2001 8:26:43 AM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: real saxophonist
So now you can get "government moose" to go with your "government cheese?"
13 posted on 12/26/2001 8:37:46 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: kayak
3 moose, about 2 years old, moved through the yard yesterday about 9 AM. They hung out in the trees across the driveway for a long time, and then when they moved they wasted no time. Skittish. Largish, dark fur, which bucks the trend lately of lighter coloring, and one was sprouting a small rack, so he won't make it much past summer even if traffic doesn't get him sooner.
14 posted on 12/26/2001 8:51:37 AM PST by RightWhale
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To: real saxophonist
Those averages put the state behind only Sweden, where 4,000 to 6,000 moose are
road casualties each year, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.


HEY PETA!!!
Wanna' do some real good?
Get over to the Socialist "Cradle-To-Grave" Society of Sweden!
You've got some work to do there!
15 posted on 12/26/2001 9:04:39 AM PST by VOA
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To: RightWhale
They hung out in the trees...

Now I've heard of bears in trees, and cats in trees, but I have never heard of moose in trees. The next time a moose bites my sister, I'll tell her to chase it towards a tree, then I'll let loose the dogs to keep him up there.

FReegards,

16 posted on 12/26/2001 9:06:22 AM PST by VMI70
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
On another note, these people are nuts. That moose will trample them if upset

Agreed.
The only more insane I've personally witnessed was a couple of people basically doing
the same thing with Buffaloe...cows with young, no less!
Somehow, they happened upon the most docile buffalo cows in the Wichita Mountains Preserve
in southwest Oklahoma.
17 posted on 12/26/2001 9:07:09 AM PST by VOA
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
Uh, oh! Here we go. Think we'll make it to 150?
18 posted on 12/26/2001 9:07:40 AM PST by VMI70
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To: real saxophonist
A moose bit my sister once....no really...
19 posted on 12/26/2001 9:48:48 AM PST by order_of_reason
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
Regarding your response that "real hunters don't use guns." You are right. They use cars! Anyone who drives the interstates can attest to the animals wiped out by drivers each year. Most of the animals go to waste as most states make it a crime to pick up a road killed animal. I've watched the program in Alaska in action. It works. I've watched the deer in my state rot beside the highway because the game dept. will not allow me to salvage them for the needing.
20 posted on 12/26/2001 10:44:03 AM PST by neverquit
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To: order_of_reason
My sister bit a moose once... No, that was my other sister...
21 posted on 12/26/2001 1:45:16 PM PST by real saxophonist
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