It's moose hunting season. For the past few weeks, entire families have been heading up river to "moose camp". It's an exciting time for kids who get to go on a great adventure with their families. Little boys especially are full of stories about how they hunted the family moose. Grown men excitedly head out to moose camp with their friends, carefully guarding their "secret spots."
The town is talking about little else. Successful and unsuccessful hunts are discussed and analyzed and it seems that everyone has an opinion on how to dress a moose, how long to hang one, how best to butcher one, and most importantly, the very best way to cook one.
The most interesting group of moose hunters are the intrepid minivan hunters. These are folks who drive their weevans down the 20-mile long Aleknagik Lake Road, find a nice place to park and sit in their truck, guns loaded, waiting for a moose to walk across the road. Driving down the road at dawn and dusk, you'll find about 10 to 20 vans parked in wait. Their drivers, hunched in the font seat, fingers hovered over the power window buttons, scanning the bushes for wandering moose.
If they're successful, they kill and gut their moose on the spot, leaving a massive gut pile for eagles, and other carrion eaters to enjoy. These animals usually pay a price for the easy meal, getting smushed by cars as they cross the road on their way home from the buffet.
Hunter and Tom head out moose hunting on Wednesday. They're heading to Hunter's "special spot" up the Nushagak River, where the moose are bigger, juicer and in great abundance.
Wednesday is also my last day in Dillingham. We're moving to the Kenai Peninsula. I'm going to spend a week with Mum before meeting Hunter in Seattle and heading south to Florida and the Turks & Caicos Islands for a holiday. I'm happy to be going back to civilization but I think I'll miss this place.