ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - It's nice to learn from other people's mistakes, and in Alaska, sometimes those "people" are moose.
Photo courtesy Brad Webster
Late last year, Unalakleet school teacher Brad Webster and a friend made the unusual discovery of two bull moose partially frozen under the ice, locked at the antlers.
The two men found the moose while walking along a frozen slough about 10 miles outside of town, near Covenant Bible Camp.
Webster says there are several theories on what happened to the moose, but the most likely scenario to play out is that the two moose were fighting over a female when one was knocked unconscious or suffered a broken neck, taking the other one down with it.
"There was a fight and one of them won, and they both lost," Webster said. "Once it's knocked out or once it's dead, you've got a live moose that won the fight, but the other moose is dragging you down into the water."
Because the moose looked to be in good shape, Webster and a few of his friends decided to return a few days later to remove them from from the ice. He says freeing both carcasses in their entirety was too big of a task. The men focused on removing the heads.
"We did it kind of in a typical off-the-road system Alaska way," said Webster. "We used ice picks to get started and then we used chainsaws where the ice picks failed."
"Then we used the winch from my four-wheeler to lift them up out of the ice and put them in my trailer and we drove them down to town," he continued. "They've sat outside my house waiting until the time we have enough time to thaw them out and cut all the meat off."
Eventually, Webster says he hopes to have the skulls bleached, keeping the antlers locked together, before placing the moose on display back at the bible camp.