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Only in Alaska - a tale from a Pike's employee's husband

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


In 2010 the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued 100 permits to hunt bull moose in the Upper Ship Creek drainage behind Anchorage. Permits are available for pick up in person at the ADF&G office in Anchorage in October starting at 8:00 AM on a selected day. In 2010 people were lining up by 8:00 PM the night before. I arrived at 4:00 AM on the same day and was number 70 or 71 in line. More than 100 hunters showed up that year. I met a guy who showed up at 6:00  AM found out at 9:00 AM that he was 113 in line, so no permit. The 2010 night was cold and damp; I spent it trying to doze in a sleeping bag on the pavement under the parking lot lights.

In 2011 the permits were issued on Wednesday October 5. By Tuesday night, there were over a dozen hunters in line with sleeping bags, folding chairs and heavy jackets-including last year’s number 113, a friendly guy who lives a half mile from the South Fork Eagle River trailhead, a popular entry point for the hunt.
David, my son, and I wanted permits. We were not willing to play the odds. Plan A, up at 4:00 AM and off to ADF&G with warm clothes and camp stools, was replaced by spending the night in a tent in line. We arrived at 10:30 PM and joined the line as numbers 17 and 18. We had a ground cloth, free standing tent, thermarest sleeping pad (comfortable), ensolite sleeping pad (not so c.), sleeping bags, headlamps, Allie’s homemade cookies, a thermos of coffee, a thermos of tea, and paperbacks. With the only tent, we set the highest standard. At 2:30 AM David went home for a canteen of water. During the night occasional hunters arrived and settled in. At 6:00 AM we got up and found that they would start issuing permits at 8:00 AM. We went back to sleep till 7:00 AM when it got too noisy to sleep. More people had joined the line. The unofficial count was 86 at 7:00 AM. At 8:15 am, we had permits in hand and left.