Daily Archives: June 8, 2011

Dogs, wildlife don’t mix — Llama killed, moose calf rescued from Kasilof sled dog pen

By Joseph Robertia

Photos by Joseph Robertia, Redoubt Reporter, Moose calves have appeared on the Kenai Peninsula recently, making this a dangerous time for pet-wildlife interactions. Dog owners are asked to prevent their pets from roaming, to minimize the risk to their safety, and to that of newborn wildlife.

Redoubt Reporter

Warming weather and extended hours of light are coaxing more activity outside, which can be good, or particularly bad, when animals and people run afoul of each other.

“The warm temperatures are bringing out the roaming dogs, so now is when we see an explosion of outdoor accidents,” said Mary Huhndorf, a veterinarian at Twin Cities Veterinary Clinic.

She has already seen a seasonal uptick in the number of animals coming into the clinic with injuries, primarily dogs hit by vehicles. A dog also arrived last week with a gunshot wound.

“It was brought in after it was shot at a neighbor’s house. The people who shot it didn’t want to, but after the dog had killed six of their chickens, they didn’t know what else to do,” Huhndorf said.

This dog wasn’t the only one shot recently after intruding on another person’s property. Carrol Martin said he shot two dogs Friday after three came onto Martin’s Diamond M Ranch and killed one of Martins’ llamas and a miniature goat.

“We never even found the goat,” Martin said, “and the llama got chewed up pretty bad. He had deep puncture wounds all over his face, neck and body.”

Obama the Llama, as the Martins had named it, was still alive when the Martins found it and called a veterinarian. Despite treatment, the animal succumbed to its injuries later that evening. The Martins tried to track the dogs back to their place of origin. They seemed to live a whopping three miles away. Continue reading

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Bears death tally up to 3

By Joseph Robertia

Redoubt Reporter

As campgrounds begin to fill up and more people take to the outdoors this summer, interactions with wildlife are increasing. The results are not always favorable. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has recorded three human-caused mortalities of brown bears so far this season.

The first was a male shot in Soldotna on May 6 after it was reported to be attempting to kill a dog in an outdoor pen. Although, said Larry Lewis, a wildlife technician with Fish and Game, the shooter did say, “There may have been some dog food left in there overnight.”

The other two deaths are the end of a chain reaction of events that began in Sterling on May 13. A hunter made some errors while attempting to legally hunt brown bears, Lewis said.

“This person had a permit, but they were in the wrong permit area and they shot a sow with a cub — which may or may not have been known,” Lewis said.

The sow was illegally harvested, and will count in the tally of human-caused mortalities of bears for the year. Human-caused mortalities can also include bears hit by vehicles, euthanized by Fish and Game, or those shot in defense of life or property, also known as DLP deaths. The May 6 shooting in Soldotna has been classified as a DLP kill.

In the May 13 incident, the cub left behind was a roughly 200-pound, year-old male, rather than a small cub of the year, which is a possible reason the hunter may not have realized it was related to the mother bear. Fearing the orphan may still not be old enough to feed naturally, Fish and Game set out to capture and relocate the animal.

“We set out a live trap, got it, collared it and moved it, and it immediately came right back,” Lewis said. Continue reading

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Variety: Spice of life, appeal of river festival

By Jenny Neyman

Photos courtesy of Rhonda Orth, Kenai Watershed Forum. An artists puts the finishing touches on his wooden salmon figure at the Kenai River Festival last summer. Many favorite activities will return this weekend, with a few new highlights.

Redoubt Reporter

A listener could give themselves a hand cramp from turning the radio dial enough to get the same kind of musical variety offered in this weekend’s Kenai River Festival Rockin’ the River lineup.

Mellow acoustic folk music, rock ’n‘ roll, soulful ballads, fine-tuned harmonies, bluegrass, American big-band standards, blues and oom-pah music will be anchored with a Saturday night performance of electric Alaska funk, from perennial festival favorite performers and some newcomers to the venue.

“I’m very happy with it, we’ve got a good variety this year,” said Allen Auxier, station manager of KDLL, which organizes the concert portion of the festival. It can be stressful getting three days of musicians lined up to play, but once the music starts Friday night, “I get to sit down and watch the bands and I always enjoy it. Whoever is playing, I really do enjoy the variety. It’s always very, very different.” Continue reading

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Growing a cure for summer garden anxiety

By Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Chris Cook, left, directs Amy Christopher, center, and Irene Fandel, right in putting down and watering the first layer of a lasagna bed during a Central Peninsula Garden Club workshop May 28 in Kenai.

I’ve always regarded gardening a little like the ancient Greeks did the weather. It’s a magical occurrence, governed by mysterious forces beyond my ability to understand or control. It may involve large men in short togas who can make matters very good or very bad for you, depending on their short-tempered, capricious whims. All we can do is hope for the best while attempting to follow the enigmatic invocations of the prophets, such as, “prune after bloom,” “partial shade,” “well-draining” and something to do with planting when birch leaves are as big as squirrel ears.

OK, but plant what — anything, or just more birch trees? And what kind of squirrels are we talking about, here? Arctic ground squirrels, with their tiny, folded-back nibs of cartilage that would never keep a pair of sunglasses in place? Or the bushy-tailed red squirrels of Southeast that look like they’ve got sonar arrays sprouting from their heads?

For that matter, does the pruning have anything to do with the ears? Like sacrificing a goat to Zeus to end a drought? (Editor’s note: No squirrels were harmed in the making of this column.)

So when Chris Cook, of the Central Peninsula Gardening Club, asked if I wanted a lasagna bed garden at my house, I told her I probably wasn’t the best candidate. The only circumstance in which I could envision my thumb being green is if I whacked it with a hammer — probably in an effort to construct some sort of trellis or hoop house or composting apparatus — to the point where gangrene set in.

In my brain’s filing system, “gardening,” as a concept, is stuffed in a box with “horticulture,” “hydroponics” and “genetically modified food.” It’s shoved in the dank, cobwebby “Things I don’t really understand” corner, along with bins labeled “advanced physics,” “the poetry of William Butler Yeats,” “why people care about the British monarchy,” “the appeal of Capri pants,” “how to cook an artichoke” and “toilets flushing the opposite direction below the equator.” Continue reading

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‘Deadliest Catch’ Time Bandit hit in Coast Guard sweep

Homer Tribune staff

A man was arrested from the famed commercial crabbing boat, the Time Bandit, after Alaska State Troopers boarded it to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in its investigation.

Michael Lee Shannon, 39, of Wasilla, was a guest aboard the Time Bandit on May 29. He was arrested for disorderly conduct, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

According to trooper reports, the troopers’ assistance, along with narcotics-sniffing dog Yukon, was requested by the U.S. Coast Guard for an unspecified cause. The Time Bandit was anchored near Anchor Point beach when troopers and Coast Guard officials boarded it at 1:24 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The Coast Guard wanted to do an impromptu safety inspection, said David Mosley, Coast Guard spokesman.

During the boarding, a small amount of marijuana was located in the luggage of a guest aboard the vessel, according to court statements of Trooper Aaron Mobley.

“During the contact, a male refused to identify himself on board. It was later determined that the male was Michael Lee Shannon, 39, of Wasilla, who was a guest on the vessel and intoxicated,” the report stated. Continue reading

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Japanese navy visits Cook Inlet

By Naomi Klouda

Photos courtesy of Joe Kashi. Three Japanese navy ships visited Kachemak Bay on Saturday. Here is the Asagiri, TV-3516, a training vessel, formerly the DD-151 destroyer. The current Asagiri carries forward the name of a famous Japanese destroyer from World War II. The name means “morning fog.”

Homer Tribune

Japanese navy ships visited Homer over the weekend, en route to Anchorage and other distant ports for a five-month training mission.

The ships form one squadron, with three vessels called the JDS Kashima, JDS Asagiri and JDS Mineyuki. Aboard were 700 crewmembers and 175 officer cadets, said U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson, Sara Francis. Continue reading

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Stick to the weeds when hunting hardy pike

By Steve Meyer, for the Redoubt Reporter

Slowly poling the flat-bottom duck boat through the cold morning fog of an Alaska summer dawn, we moved into position just off the edge of a shallow-water reed bed. The stillness of the morning was one of those eerie silences that are all too rare in our modern world. So much so that we sat back and just listened to the birds chirping, talking to each other as they always do at dawn; as if they are having their morning coffee and discussing the day’s events.

But after a few moments we got back to the task at hand, catching one of those hated Kenai Peninsula pike which, were they only illegal aliens, would be left alone.

Moving ever so slowly to remain quiet and not bang the side of the boat, we readied our fishing rods and prepared to drop our topwater plugs (that float on the surface) — mine a white mouse, my fishing partner’s a dark green frog — into the reed bed.

We timed our casts to hit the water at the same time. As my mouse barely hit the water an explosion of spraying water came up and I set the hook, hard. Pike have hard mouths that require a hard hook set, unlike many other fish species on the Kenai. This is only one of the reasons we use braided Berkley Fire Line, a super braid that has virtually no stretch and practically allows one to set a hook in a concrete block.

Sharp hooks are of course always desirable when fishing, but with pike they are a must. My fishing partner, much to her dismay, had no action from her frog hitting the water. And so it goes when trying to catch the relatively rare pike in the peninsula lakes.

Despite all of the press to the contrary, there are very few pike in peninsula waters. Stormy Lake, which has been the focus of an eradication plan, provides pike fishing at its most difficult. Continue reading

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