Saturday, July 12, 2008

No Moose Hunt for Me This Year

In addition to general hunting seasons, called "harvest ticket" hunts, Alaska offers a variety of specialized "drawing permit" hunts. These are usually primitive weapons hunts or hunts for a limited number of relatively rare animals, such as muskoxen or bison.

For the past 15 years I have religiously applied for a variety of drawing permits, mostly for muzzle loader only moose hunts and of course my annual attempt to win a bison tag. While I don't expect to actually win a bison tag (the odds are astronomical), one would think that sooner or later I would win a drawing permit for a special moose hunt. The odds just aren't that great against winning them.

Well, for the 15th (maybe 16th) year in a row, I crapped out. Meanwhile, all the usual suspects including politicians, bureaucrats, fish and game employees, &c. seem to have won at least one, and in some cases more than one of these coveted permits.

I'm not saying that the "random draw" is rigged exactly, but I am saying there is certainly reasonable cause to suspect that it is rigged.

Meanwhile, because my work schedule falls exactly during the general moose season this year, I am totally out of luck for putting moose meat into the freezer. I'm very disappointed in that. With the cost of groceries spiraling out of the control 1,000 to 1,500 lb of wholesome, lean moose meat would be very welcome.

I'll have to focus on smaller species. Grouse and rabbits (snowshoe hares) appear plentiful this year, and they are much easier to field dress, butcher and pack out than is a moose. Perhaps a caribou or black bear will choose to commit suicide this fall.

It just goes to show that hunting in Alaska is much like getting married a second time. Both activities represent the triumph of hope over experience.

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