Craigslist performs miracles: It makes a moose carcass disappear

As the old saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. But what about when your trash weighs 300 pounds and is a stinking, rotting moose carcass?

Well, as Sharon Baker of Anchorage, Alaska discovered, there is no limit to what people will gladly take, as long as it's given for free. When a yearling moose calf died in her yard in April, she put a modest message on Craigslist: "dead moose needs removal." Soon, five people had responded to her ad; a man and a woman ended up carting the dead beast away. They intended to eat the moose, but Baker doesn't know if they actually did.

Calvin Hay, also of Anchorage, wasn't as lucky. When a 300 pound moose died in his yard, he also advertised it on Craigslist. He ultimately got over 50 responses, including one person who offered to take a quarter of the moose, noting that he owned a small knife and a bicycle. Unfortunately, the responses ended up getting caught in Hay's spam filter, so he didn't find out about them until after he had paid to have the moose carted away.

Apparently, the laws involving the removal of dead moose carcasses are actually fairly complicated. If a moose dies from an unnatural cause, such as being hit by a car, its meat can be eaten, which means that the animal is generally given to one of the many charitable organizations that are on the "dead moose" waiting list. However, if the moose dies from natural causes, the meat is deemed inedible, which means that homeowners are stuck with the corpse. While the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will try to help find a trapper or other person who is willing to take possession of the moose, they leave the final disposition to the homeowner. Given the difficulty of disposing of 300 pounds of rotting meat, this can present quite a challenge.

While Craigslist provides an easy answer, the Department of Fish and Game has suggested that homeowners don't take advantage of the service. Inedible moose meat can present major health risks, and homeowners could be legally responsible for people who are poisoned by meat that is collected on their property. Still, given that they could be stuck paying a couple of hundred dollars if Bullwinkle decides to kick the bucket while on their front lawns, it seems like Craigslist could, potentially, make a disaster into a delightful scavenging opportunity!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He's never had to deal with a dead moose, although he's run over more than his fair share of possums.