October 19, 2004


I lived in Alaska long enough to know that the place was full of weird stories just waiting to be told.

So it was with great amusement that I read a story of a moose found dangling 50 feet in the air, his antlers tangled in a set of rural power lines southeast of Fairbanks.


How did he get up there? I'll let the story explain:

The prevailing theory is that the moose came across the sagging and swaying wires and, in a testosterone-filled moment, decided to challenge the power line to a fight, as bull moose are known to do during the rut, or mating season.

"My guess is he was in full rut and probably seen that line moving out there," and decided to fight, said Marvin Pickens, line construction manager for City Electric in Anchorage.

Workers didn't know the moose was tangled in the line until they tightened it and detected a problem.

"There was nobody there to observe this happen," said Marian, noting that workers were much farther up the line when they tightened it.

Crews can lay up to five miles of line at a time before tightening it with a giant hydraulic winch, said Pickens. It's similar to stringing fishing line through the eyes of a fishing pole, he said. The line is pulled through leaders on the crossties at the top of the power poles and then winched tight with as much as 5,000 pounds of pressure, he said.

"As you're pulling, it constantly droops up and down," said Pickens. "My guess is that he was right in the middle of one of the sections when it got pulled up."

The moose, which probably weighed in the neighborhood of 1,200 pounds, was likely suspended in the air for only a matter of minutes, said Marian.

All of which got me to wondering about what the moose must have been thinking while dangling up there. Maybe he thought about tailoring the lyrics to the Tommy James and the Shondell's hit song, "Dragging The Line" to his own predicament:

Hoofin' a livin' the old hard way
Chewin' and gnawin' the alder away
I dig at the snow in the rain and the brief sunshine
Now I'm hung on the line

I eat trees and also flowers
My antlers are huge, now they've got power
No more lunch time...
'Cause I'm hung on the line
(Hung on the line)
Hung on the line

I feel fine
Me and my pea-sized mind
Dangling like a big Key lime
Bullwinkle never spent time
Hung on the line
(Hung on the line)
Hung on the line.

Posted by Jeff at October 19, 2004 01:51 AM | TrackBack