Environmental Police give moose to Wampanoag pantry

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Meat from a moose is loaded onto a Massachusetts Environmental Police boat in Falmouth for shipment to the Island.

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.

  • I am not impressed.
    A moose was killed in an accident in some unnamed town . Why was the carcas of this moose transported an unknown number of miles, put on a boat and given to the ” Martha’s Vineyard hunt club” ?
    Just this week, the Times had an article about local food. That’s great– but do we not understand that an animal that was tragicaly killed in an accident presumably somewhere in New England should be distributed to local people in need in that local community ? I struck a deer last April with my vehicle– The officer asked me if I wanted the carcass– I did not– He then called the next person on the list that would accept this animal.
    I would be appalled if the next person on the list was someone from Maine and it took up space on the ferry to go to the cape, or western ma. or Connecticut or new Hampshire or Maine — or Idaho, for that matter–
    I don’t understand the logic of bringing this to the island. Are there not local people wherever this animal was killed that would take it ?

    • I was wondering the same thing. Why was this animal brought to the Vineyard? This story seems to require a bit more background to be comprehensible. I was not aware that there was an approved slaughterhouse on MV. An online search for “Martha’s Vineyard Hunt Club” got no hits.

      • The Mv hunt club is a private organization that does wildlife management and deer control. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. We butcher for the tribe food pantry yearly in a collaborative mission

        • I feel that the services of the MV Hunt Club should be made available to a wider public. There are many people on the Vineyard who would like to have increased access to local wild food (although this moose, obviously, was not local). Perhaps the Times can run a story on the MV Hunt Club.

          • Katherine, the hunt club is not a service. We help teach people to secure hunting permission, hunt, track, butcher and process their harvest. It’s a private not for profit club of like minded men and women on the vineyard. We don’t process to sell game. It’s more of an educational group, working to keep the tradition of harvesting and preserving wild game an active part of the island community.

    • Don, the hunt club is donating the time to butcher the moose to be donated to the tribe by the environmental police. They are working to get an unfortunate situation into the food stream. As the article states.

  • That is tremendous news! Its refreshing to know that the fish and wildlife community are assisting people in need, including the Wampanoag community. The venison share program and the fish donated by the annual fishing derby entrants are badly needed and appreciated. Hopefully, the Wampanoag community will get a message to the Aquinnah Police Dept. to stop discouraging fishing by its overzealous ticketing of cars during the annual fishing derby. Fewer people fishing equates to fewer fish for those in need.

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