Knife holes in hide beat bear-attack skeptics

Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2000

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage taxidermist had counted himself among those skeptical of a claim by a hunter that he fought off a Kodiak brown bear with his Buck knife. But that skepticism changed when he saw the bear's hide.

Tom Buckmeier said the five knife slits in the hide made him believe the tale Gene Moe has been telling.

Moe, a 69-year-old Anchorage contractor, said he was attacked by the bear in early November while butchering a deer on Kodiak Island. He said he stabbed the bear several times, and when the animal moved away, he picked up his rifle and shot it.

Buckmeier confessed he was among those Alaskans who doubted Moe's story of fighting off a bear with a knife - until he looked at the knife punctures last week.

``They were big cuts,'' Buckmeier said. ``You can't hide those. . . . It certainly lends credibility.''

Moe ended up in the Kodiak hospital with big tears in his shoulder, arms and legs, but he survived.

``I've still got that knife with a bunch of (bear) hair stuck in it,'' Moe said when reached by telephone on vacation in Arizona.

He also has a bunch of new knives. Buck, the company that manufactured Moe's original knife, heard about his ordeal and sent knives as a get-well gift.

Technically, Moe is still recovering from wounds to his shoulder, arms and legs. The man described by a nephew as ``one tough old buzzard'' was supposed to start therapy this week, but he decided to skip it and pursue his own regime of swimming, golf and taking the grandkids touring around Arizona.

Ron Newby, Moe's son-in-law, said Moe has always found it difficult to sit still. He was already back at work at the family concrete-contracting business in Anchorage in early December.

``The doctors told him to take it easy,'' Newby said. ``But pretty soon, he's running around, here and there. I'd say to him, `Did the doctor say you could do that?' He'd say, `You've got to get some exercise.'''

Newby said he's going to do his best to make sure Moe doesn't decide to go on any more deer-hunting trips to Kodiak Island. Newby said he'll physically restrain the old man if necessary to keep him from going back.

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