2.17.2013

Marshall School Moose Hunt

Josh went on a moose hunting field trip with a handful of high school students and some parents last Wednesday.  The following are photos from the trip.  

WARNING: Some are very graphic.  
Here they are gassing up the snow machines.  Nick (in the middle) told Josh it was over $950 for the district to gas them all up. (It's about $6.99/gallon for gas here in Marshall.) Talk about a spendy field trip!

Some of the students waiting while the snow machines got gas.

Back at the school, everyone got ready to head out.  

 They took off down the river, riding the snow machines on its frozen top, and went around the island.  


Josh said that people have different favorite places to hunt, so they went to a few of those places.

They got very lucky on this trip. Four students in Josh's group, and three in the other group, were able to shoot moose.  

Only during the winter months are you allowed to shoot the cows (girl moose).

Once the moose is shot, the men get to work quartering it.

Josh said it was like watching a machine.

They are so fast and skilled.

The moose weight anywhere from 600 to 1200 pounds, so it is hard physical labor!

I understand the moose is used to feed families, and that nothing goes to waste, but when I see their eyes I do feel a little bit sad for them.  They seem to have such sweet eyes!

While the men are working to cut it into pieces, there is a constant flow of steam from the body.  All that body heat escaping into the cold air.

The day they went hunting was glorious- blue skies and sunshine, and NO WIND (!!!)- but it was COLD! It was -4 degrees.  Josh said when they were standing in the sunshine, it felt fine, but while riding the snow machines, it was pretty biting!  Brr!

In fact, it was so cold, that Josh's water froze in its bottle in his back pack.  

Because of the cold, I was really grateful (as was Josh) that they decided not to do an overnight hunt, which was the original plan. 

It's tradition to eat a piece of kidney from your first kill.  Another student was being taunted to eat a piece, and Josh agreed that if he did it, so would Josh.  It was about a one inch square of kidney.  It was warm, fresh from the moose's belly, but also cold, because it was so cold outside.  He said he bit into it, and the consistency was like spam.  He chewed twice, then just swallowed the whole thing.  He was gagging and spitting, it tasted awful, and when he spit, it was full of blood from the kidney! Yuck!

When he was deciding whether or not to eat the piece of kidney, he asked the men with him if he would get sick.  One joked that since Josh has lived in the village almost two years, he's practically native, and he'd be fine. 

When shooting, it's best to hit the neck or head.  If you shoot the body of the moose, you can cause the insides (guts) to spill about.  Here, a student is cleaning the guts off some of the ribs with snow.

Once the moose was cut into more manageable pieces, they loaded it onto the sled that was attached to the schools' snowmobile, the one Josh was driving.

Josh said the day was so much fun.  The students were super happy to be out.  They were overjoyed to catch what for some was their first moose. 

One of the students took the camera and captured some fun shots, 
including this one (my new favorite) of Josh.

I can't say if I were out there, at -4 degrees, that my smile would be this big! These kids are amazing!

Here one student is pretending to eat the tongue from the moose. Haha! Can you believe how BIG that thing is?!?

Josh said if you shoot a bull, you usually hold it up for a picture by its antlers, but since this one was a cow, he told him to hold it by its ears. 


THE FOLLOWING ARE VERY GRAPHIC:
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It was discovered by the men as they quartered one of the moose, that it had been pregnant.
Here are pictures of the fetus.

I talked to Josh about it, and he said that you can only shoot cows during a limited time of winter, and that Fish and Game are very on top of the numbers.  And as a matter of fact, the numbers around Marshall used to be dwindling, and now they are rising higher than ever.

So even though the baby moose makes me sad, I feel better knowing that there will be plenty of moose in the years to come.

Josh came home from the trip invigorated and excited once again to be living this rugged Alaskan lifestyle.

He hopes to plan more field trips like this for next year.

I think everyone would like that!
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5 comments:

Rox said...

Great picture of Josh! I'm relieved they didn't stay overnight.
Sad for the baby moose! It's really odd to see a moose fetus.

Marilynn Raatz said...

Oh my I am fascinated and sad at the same time. I know this is necessary but you know me and babies! I am really happy for the village, how exciting for the students to shoot their first moose! I can only imagine such a rite of passage. I am so proud of Josh.

Alida said...

How exciting. It was to bad about the baby tho. They were all very brave to get out there in the COLD weather. mmmm Moose for dinner & then some.

Kasey said...

What a cool trip for Josh to be part of. Living in the city for as long as I have now, it's sometimes easy to forget the circle of life and where our meat comes from. I'd love for you to do a post on cooking moose. Do they use every part?

Clara said...

Hi I am coming from Yes and Yes and I am glad that you did a link up of a couple posts. It was sad for me to see the baby moose but also still interesting to see the butchering. We hunt deer here (North Carolina) so I have seen this kind of thing before. I like the way you post; you are not overdramatic about what you are posting about. I am going to sign up to get emails!