Meat from a moose weighing about 700 pounds was given by the Massachusetts Environmental Police (EPO) to the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) to help stock the tribal food pantry, according to EPO Lt. Colonel Pat Moran. The moose was harvested following a vehicle strike that left a motorist unharmed, Moran said. In keeping with the good relationship the EPO has with the Aquinnah Wampanoag, Moran said, the moose, which was determined to be fresh and viable to eat, was delivered to the Martha’s Vineyard Hunt Club, on behalf of the tribe, for processing.
Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society president Brian Athearn, who has the hunt club’s walk-in and butchery at his property in West Tisbury, said he’s working with hunt club president Joe Capece to prepare the moose for butchering. The moose is presently hung with deer in the walk-in, he said, and will remain there until the meat becomes tender enough to butcher. Athearn said the hunt club was “very honored” to prepare moose for the tribe, calling it a first for the hunt club.
The moose came by boat to the Island Sunday. Moran brought it to EPO Sgt. Scott Opie and helped load it.
Moran said delivering the moose is in line with a long tradition of the EPO donating fresh wildlife and fish to those in need and those who would benefit most from it.
The donation is getting some moose-size attention on the Massachusetts Environmental Police Facebook page. The post has gotten more than 1,000 likes or other reactions, generated more than 140 comments (most of them praising the efforts to use the meat), and nearly 100 shares.
“Very appreciative of the efforts of all involved,” Bret Stearns, natural resources director for the Aquinnah Wampanoag, wrote in a comment on the post. “Special thanks to the Massachusetts Environmental Police for the quick response, transportation, and communication. The animal will be utilized by the tribe with gratitude.”