BEE Shop Files: Man and Moose at the Elmendorf BEE Shop

Mark Conley

Active member
Just before I was transferred to a tiny island in the Aleutian chain, it was decided that I needed to bone up a bit on my industrial hygiene skills with a little TDY time at the Elmendorf Base Bioenvironmental Engineering (BEE) Shop. Now I wasn’t very rusty behind the ears, but my career field had gone forward a little while I had played a military educator, and well 1600 miles away from the nearest support wasn’t a place to catch up on the changes. So I got my first real taste of Alaska at this shop.

Now this base had quite a large wild animal population; deer, elk, and moose did walk about all over the place with out the slightest restriction on their movement or purpose in life. One of the first briefings I was sent to involved what to do if you encountered this indigenous population, and it only consisted of not feeding nor making any threatening moves toward the animal if encountered. I found out later that the best advice was to stay in the building or the car at all times to avoid outdoor exposure to the animals; it seemed that a moose during rutting time could be a down right dangerous object to run into. At least that’s what the guys said later.

It being the late 80’s, the anti-smoking campaign against indoor smoking was in full swing; if you smoked, you took it outside. Now I wasn’t a stranger to this, as I had been smoking outside practically all my life in the military. I just had to be a little more careful applying this to Elmendorf weather conditions, as to breathe normally outside in –25 degree cold could and often did have strange physiological effects. My first such venture outside saw me passing out temporarily from the inhalation shock, as the guys put it. Soon, I was seasoned as everyone else in the adaptation of my body to carry out this very necessary but vile practice.

One morning, right around sunup (at that time it was 10:00 o’clock in the morning), I had headed outside for my morning smoke. I had just lit up, and was minding my own business, when I heard this strange little snort behind me, and a bit of sudden warmth on my neck. Suffice to say that my immediate reaction was to run very quickly back to the door; what I actually did was to slowly turn my head around to see what the source of that snort was. As I got my head turned a quarter turn, I got my first look at him.

It was a moose. This was in my opinion, the largest carnivorous man eating moose I have ever seen. He stood over six feet tall, with his head and mouth about a foot away from my head. His head was about the size of a German Shepard dog, which sported a beautiful rack of antlers, which extended about four feet in width from his head. From my viewpoint, he had eyes about the size of silver dollars; His mouth displayed a row of perfect teeth, which had a clutch of small bark strips being munched on in regular strokes. I didn’t really see the rest of this animal’s body, but I imagine the rest of him was perfectly capable of rendering me into a pancake.

After looking at him for about five seconds, I decided to look forward and have another drag off that cigarette, as the way I figured it was going to be my last one after all. Well, after smoking it for about 5 seconds more or so, I decided to have another look at him. Only this time, when I looked, he was gone. All 2000 pounds of him had not only left, but had left so quietly, I hadn’t heard a single sound. At first, I had thought it was just an illusion or a mirage; it was when I saw the prints in the snow that I realized this had been no trick of the eyes.

Well I threw down the cigarette and ran for the door, only discovering to my chagrin that the damn thing was locked. Pounding on the door finally got someone to open it, and let me in. The look on my face probably said it all to the airman that had opened the door; he suggested that I not go outside alone to have my smokes, as there were wild moose in the area, and they were extremely dangerous during the rutting season. I said, ”well that’s fine, but none of you seem to smoke in this workplace”. He told me that the MSgt of the workplace had realized this, and had just delegated him to accompany me outside when ever I had the need for a smoke. He was in the act of coming outside to baby-sit me when I had come running and pounding on the door. And the reason the door was locked? Seems like that same moose had learned to turn the lever handle, open the door, and walk in like he owned the place.

I never did see Mr. Moose again, although I certainly did look forward to it. I did not go outside without my moose-watching airman either. The way I had it figured, I could always throw the guy to the animal and depart while the moose was rutting on him. When I got out to the island, I was finally able to relax; the largest animal there was the Doberman drug dog. Now days, I still smoke outside the house as it’s a gift I gave to my wife and kids. And if I hear a little snort behind me, well I just keep on puffing and looking ahead. :wink:
All I can say is :lol:

Have you tried smoked moose meat??
It's real tasty.. :D
Smoked moose ...

Smoked moose might be good...but im too much of a coward to think one 30-06 bullet is going to get me halfway to the meat munching party.

Im telling you..that moose was the biggest S.O.B. i have every seen... :shock: well maybee not. I have seen my wife come out of the bedroom...and in the right light :P
Re: Smoked moose ...

Mark Conley said:
Smoked moose might be good...but im too much of a coward to think one 30-06 bullet is going to get me halfway to the meat munching party.

Im telling you..that moose was the biggest S.O.B. i have every seen... :shock: well maybee not. I have seen my wife come out of the bedroom...and in the right light :P

Try Elephant Seals - Seen those on the Falklands - Now, they are big, and, they can move as fast as a horse as well, apparently!
Maybe the moose wanted a puff as well, ever thought of it that way? Nah bad idea, *imagines what would happen* "Hear you go Mr. Moo*crunch* MY HAND"