Property owner grapples with dead-moose dilemma

Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2004

ANCHORAGE - Eagle River resident Glenn Gibeault discovered a dead moose on his quarter-acre near Eagle River Road last month. As the snow started melting, an ear emerged.

He called the state Department of Fish and Game.

"'It's your moose,'" Gibeault said he was told.

If a moose dies alongside a road or in a ditch, Fish and Game will call on a trapper or city or state road crews to haul it off. But if one dies on private property, the homeowner has to dispose of the carcass.

"Our policy is once a moose is dead, it's not ours anymore. People are stuck moving them themselves," state biologist Rick Sinnott said. "People get very upset with us, obviously. They figure it's still our moose."

In winter, it's easy to find trappers who want the hide or meat. But as the trapping season ends in spring, they're not so interested, Sinnott said.

At this time of year, Sinnott said, moose are weakened and starving and "dropping like flies."

Gibeault said a friend suggested he drag it down the road. "Then it's the municipality's moose."

That's not a new idea, Sinnott said. The Peninsula Clarion of Kenai reported last week that moose carcasses were piling up in the peninsula, littering back-road ditches, sometimes with ropes still cinched around their necks.

Gibeault also thought about trying to shove his moose 10 feet, across his neighbor's property line. Unfortunately, the neighbor already had noticed the animal on Gibeault's property, he said with a laugh.

Game officials told Gibeault they would try to help him find a trapper to take the carcass.

A moose carcass might attract bears stumbling out of hibernation this time of year, so people want them removed from neighborhoods as quickly as possible.

Robert Doran, owner of Nuisance Wildlife Management in Wasilla, charges $175 to use his 9,500-pound winch and dump trailer to pull animals out of people's yards.

"It's not the most glamorous thing," he said. "And it's kind of odoriferous."

A trapper finally bailed Gibeault out.



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