I heard an interesting story the other day.
Two guys were driving down the road near Tok and happened upon a road kill caribou with a tie down strap around it’s neck. Curious, they slowed down to take a closer look. Headlights approached, and the other truck slowed down, too.
In the other truck were two old men. One of the older guys said that he was trying to get the caribou into their truck and had just gone to town to round up some help. Some of the young men in town they spoke with weren’t too keen on heading out in minus 50 degree weather. He was only able to rustle up the help of another guy who was even older. The two of them hadn’t been able to lift the 250 lb.-plus adult cow.
“I’m on the list,” he said. “Would you help us?”
The two younger men helped lift the cow into the old guy’s truck while the old man thanked them over and over again, clearly grateful, because that meat could literally mean the difference between life and death in these parts.
I asked my husband about this. He explained that there is a list that anyone around here can get on that gives them permission to take possession of road kill for sustenance. In general, road kill – or animals fallen victim to “non-natural death” or “human-cased mortality” – automatically become property of the state under the jurisdiction of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
But if you’re on the list, the road kill is…fair game.
photo by G. Risdahl, ©2008, All Rights Reserved