Life in a Village

Ever since I was attacked via e-mail by someone over my website for my guide business that mentioned “waterfowl hunting” as a service (how could anyone hunt you evil person you…),  I have tried to be somewhat careful when blogging about some of the things we do around here.  Not for fear of getting verbally attacked by some PETAphile (they are pretty easy to wind up and drop),  but a lot of fly fishermen lean toward the foo-foo animal-lover crap that could be turned off by some of the realities of life in a remote Alaskan village.


Hey,  if I’m gonna be shocking,  may as well start with this!  You are looking at two full chest freezers.


Ya,  I’m pretty much over that now.  If what we do and what I type bothers you,  please feel free to visit another website,  or another village for that matter…  Life is far too short to get worked up over things that have zero impact on you,  thousands of miles away from you.  Specifically,  trapping is something that built our nation,  brought the first people to most of North America and especially Alaska.  It is what clothed and fed our ancestors for thousands of year and without it,  most of the people who get upset over things like this wouldn’t exist to whine and protest,  because their great great great great grandparents would have died of exposure and/or starvation long before they produced whiny protesty offspring.


Twin rodents going for a boat ride


That said,  although I’m not a trapper and don’t get a thrill out of killing animals,  I sure love to eat.  We subsistence hunt a moose every other year to feed our family and a few others in our community,  along with the salmon,  halibut,  clams,  shrimp,  ducks,  geese and other tasty critters that populate our neighborhood.  They all taste yummy.


4 otter pelts drying on their stretchers,  with a couple beaver pelts on the left and beaver tails for making wallets on the right


But…  our family favorite remains beaver.  Tanis traps them for their fur,  but we save off the hind quarters and backstraps for a special treat.  We are planning to harvest more of the meat in the future,  because I think beaver will make an exceptional sausage without having to add suet.  The hindquarters have a lit of stringy tendons and cartilage running through them,  so we put them in a small pressure cooker for 20 minutes and the meat just falls away from the bones and tendons.  Backstraps just get sliced and fried as fajita meat,  or just eaten before it can escape the pan and onto a plate.  You don’t even get splinters in your tongue when eating beaver,  even though sawdust is all they eat…

I’ll do a separate post about Tanis’ trapping adventures,  but  a couple days ago he came back from floating the Situk with three respectable rodents in the truck.  Two were small and not worth the effort,  but the big one yielded about 1 1/2 pounds of backstrap.  Teen bought a new jumbo food processor this winter,  so we decided to shred the meat and make beaver burgers.  Too bad it only made two patties…  McDonalds doesn’t offer a 3/4 pounder?  They should!


Moose is about as fat-free a meat as you can get.  It doesn’t make a patty that holds together unless you add a bunch of stuff (like fat,  oatmeal,  etc) to make it stick.  The nice thing about the food processor is it shreds the meat and holds together nicely.  But moose is a dull reddish brown,  pretty dark and lifeless looking when raw.  This beaver meat looked like it was glo-in-the-dark red with neon lights behind it.  Really weird looking.

But oh,  what a yummy burger!  Toasted bun,  swipe of horseradish,  smoked cheddar,  leaf lettuce,  tomato slice and half an avocado.  Unfortunately we’re all out of bacon,  but I don’t think even bacon could have improved on our beaver burger as I was.

Years ago when she was cute and little,  Eden made a special request for a special birthday dinner…  Beaver and brussel sprouts.  I’m raising very strange kids!

But they will be kids who will be able to survive WWIII and probably enjoy the journey.


13 responses to “Life in a Village

  1. That a boy!!! This fly fishing guy loves to eat!!! MOOSE!!! And F those bastard beavers! Great otters by the way!

    Keep up the posts please I love your details.

    Cheers to good Eats!!

    Lucas Hile Lastfrontieranglers 907-342-5989


  2. Refreshing!!!

  3. Good for you Bob. I for one am the local president of PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) and you may consider running for the the Yakutat position as well:-

    I recommend those that have a problem with eating meat pull all but their molars, all others were meant for tearing apart meat 😉

  4. Don’t know what precipitated this entry but I agree with it all. Good to raise self sufficient children and keep up a tradition that has been going on since man first learned to do it.

  5. Awesome!! Made my day!
    See ya in June, we’ll be working in your front yard!

  6. R. C. MacLennan

    Good for you, Bob

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Thanks. That’s what we need to do: declare what we do proudly, respectfully, honestly, clearly, and let others decide for themselves.

  8. Benjamin K. Baker


    Great post! I don’t do much hunting anymore. But, hunting was what drew me to the outdoors as a youth in Idaho. I developed an appreciation and skills that I believe are invaluable.

    I will be visiting in a couple of weeks. Can you close down the river to everyone else for me? I’d really appreciate it.

    We will be staying across the ramp. We will try to stop in to say HELLO.


    Benjamin K. Baker

  9. Come to California they are all that way. Its truly is a shithole…………….

  10. Always good to read your post – very interesting to know how life is really like up there.
    I heard moose meat is delicious. Hope I get to try it someday.

  11. Thanks for sharing. Hope to stop by and say hi. Headed for Icy Bay the 19 of May for a couple of weeks. Dan


  12. David B. Neitzke

    Found that left over beaver BBQ, and this after removing all fat and rendering before roasting, tastes like my hands smell after handling dried pelts.. Cook only what will be eaten fresh, leftovers are for the dog – to roll in..

  13. Brock F Richardson

    Good to see that some Non native people enjoying beaver meat. Friends use to give me gruff about eating beavers. As for moose there’s nothing better. Foraging at it’s best.

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