November 2nd, 2016 found Unalakleet Alaska cold after a decent spell of below freezing weather. The Covenant Bible Camp steward and local school teacher, Brad Webster, along with a friend who had recently moved to the village, came across what surely is a once in a lifetime discovery, a set of Moose Antlers locked together.
Two full grown Alaskan bull moose were found dead with their antlers interlocked, encased in the freshly formed iced. Webster returned to get friend Jeff Erickson, among others, to help with the recovery.
Erickson says “It was an amazing sight when we first got there. The clear ice made it a surreal scene with the battle and two big bulls still locked in the struggle under the ice”.
Asking how the thought something like this might have happened, Erickson reported that ‘The consensus was that since this happened during the rut that one bull stunned the other, dragging both heads underwater where they drowned. There was no evidence that the struggle went on for a long time’.
The team worked in the cold weather, donning waterproof chest waders and incorporating the help of others and some extraction tools to free the bulls and their moose antlers from the ice.
Roughly 8 inches of ice formed over the water, and the crews worked to remove what they could from the scene. The meat was not suitable for human consumption but some was salvaged for both trapping bait and for feed for local sled dogs. Along with the meat, the unique specimen of the moose antlers and the two heads locked together as one was removed from the frozen water and returned to the Websters residence.
June 16th, 2018 was the date the heads were finally ready to be hung in the Bible camp and displayed for many years of conversation, questions, wonder, and the reality of how harsh life can be in the wilds of Alaska.