Antlers

As some of you will remember. Back in September I got my first moose. For more on that see Vegans be Ware. Long and short of it was that it was a big guy. My best guess was around 1600- 1700 lbs. on the hoof. We missed the picture but when we brought in the quarters the high schoolers were laying down next to them and they were pretty much the same length. This gave lots of meat, most of which got passed around the village as I could never have fit it all in the freezer, and the rest gave us steak whenever we wanted.

IMG_6584I love moose meat so this was great for me. But equally exciting were the antlers. Several people had commented on how large they were. I had no idea having never taken a moose before but a quick internet search showed that they were indeed quite large.

Boone and Crockett, or B&C, is one organization which, along with promotion of ethical practices and conservation efforts,keeps records of the largest animals taken. I printed off their score criteria and took some measurements to get an unofficial score. I was trying to be conservative in my measuring but I still got a score which was over the minimum for their book, though close.

This posed a problem. If there was a reasonable chance of making the record book I wanted to try. The easiest and cheapest way to ship the antlers would be to cut them at the base of the skull and place one in the other to make the crate needed smaller and lighter. Unfortunately B&C will not score antlers which have been cut. meaning that the nearly 6 ft wide antlers would have to be shipped as is.

So just before Christmas break construction on the create began. The shop teacher was kind enough to help out in the building, by which I mean doing most of the work. We cannibalized two other large crates which the principal let me have, used a few other scrapes that the school had and a little that I had been collecting.

IMG_7289IMG_7290When it was done it was about 6ftX5ftX4ft and weighed about 400lbs with the 70lb antlers. There was still a great deal of space in the crate so I also tossed in some caribou antlers that I had picked up on the tundra. I would have filled it with more but was unable to locate any more due to the snow.IMG_7331

Construction took a few days and then the crate sat in front of the school for a few days giving the kids a chance to speculate. Then the day I was to fly out for break I borrowed a snowgo and a freight sled and took it up to the airport to be collected by Ryan Air, a freight company that operates between villages.

IMG_7362
The freight plane my snowgo came on and the antlers left on

No sooner had they unloaded my snowgo from Ryan Air (yup that’s when it finally came in), then the passenger plane came to take me to Kotzebue. I had thought they might be a little further apart but oh well. A friend took my snowgo back to the school shop (I didn’t even get to ride it) and I and a few other people helped load the crate while everyone else got on the passenger plane. I may have delayed the flight a few minutes but no one seemed to mind.

 

The irony was that the most expensive leg of the journey (per mile) was from Shungnak to Kotzebue; $446.42 for about 150miles. They also charged me nearly $600 owing to a mistake in their billing which put other peoples charges on my account, a mistake which has still not been resolved.

Next it was to go to Anchorage via Everts Air. 550 miles, $115.90

Finally it went via YRC Freight all the way to Pasco 1600 miles, $548.92

I had thought that the final leg was to be a flight and that the crate would arrive while I was in Washington so that I could get it scored over Christmas. Turned out they took a boat from Anchorage to Seattle and then a truck the rest of the way. It got to the house January 7th, a week after I had left and 3 after being sent.

Total cost $1111.42 (and the $500 that is being debated)

 

The revised scoring plan was to have my parents get the antlers to a measurer near town. This failed because he was out of town and our pickup was out of commission. I had wanted to get the antlers scored as quickly as possible because I had been told that they could shrink up to 4 inches as they dried. The B&C requirement was to wait at least 60 days before scoring. I got them scored in June, 10 months later.

The first measurer we went to ended up being for Safari Club International or SCI, a similar program although it yields a higher score because they use different criteria. I made that book and a few days later tracked down a B&C measurer who ended up being the father of someone I had met in scouting and who had lived in Kotzebue in his younger days.

All said and done the results were;

The SCI score; 470 4/8 (uses a different score system)

My estimate for a B&C score; 219 2/8

The SCI estimate for a B&C score; 226 5/8

The official B&C score; 228 6/8

And they weighed almost 60 lbs skull and antlers.

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