Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 95 E300
Location: Inside my head
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Line noise bull
By TIM MOWRY, Staff Writer
It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's a bull moose hanging by its antlers from an electrical power line in the middle of the Alaska wilderness.
In one of those only-in-Alaska stories that will shock even the sourest of sourdoughs, a trophy-sized bull moose was accidentally strung up in a power line under construction to the Teck Pogo gold mine southeast of Fairbanks. The moose apparently got its antlers tangled in electrical wire before workers farther down the line pulled the line tight about two weeks ago.
The moose was suspended 50 feet in the air when workers, recognizing something was wrong, backtracked and found it.
The moose was alive when it was lowered to the ground but was later killed when officials from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game decided against tranquilizing it to remove the wires because they were worried the moose, already stressed, would die and the meat would not be salvageable as a result of the drugs.
The incident happened Oct. 5 at about 40 Mile Pogo Mine Road, which leads to the gold mine about 80 miles southeast of Fairbanks.
"It's just an unbelievable story," said Gabriel Marian, president of City Electric Inc., the contractor erecting the power line to the mine. "The only unfortunate part is we had to shoot the moose.
"It would be more of a feel-good story if we had let it down and it ran off," he lamented.
The moose reportedly had an antler spread of 62 inches, a trophy bull by Alaska's big game standards, though Dave Davenport, a technician for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Delta Junction who handled the original call on Oct. 5, is still in the process of finding the antlers, which are state property.
"I haven't seen the antlers," said Davenport. "I'm in the process of trying to get City Electric to turn over the antlers."
The prevailing theory is that the moose came across the sagging and swaying wires and, in a testosterone-filled moment, decided to challenge the power line to a fight, as bull moose are known to do during the rut, or mating season.
"My guess is he was in full rut and probably seen that line moving out there," and decided to fight, said Marvin Pickens, line construction manager for City Electric in Anchorage.
Workers didn't know the moose was tangled in the line until they tightened it and detected a problem.
"There was nobody there to observe this happen," said Marian, noting that workers were much farther up the line when they tightened it.