Put that on your college application: Learned to hunt, skin moose for middle school credit - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, January 16, 2022
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Put that on your college application: Learned to hunt, skin moose for middle school credit

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In Nikiski, middle school teacher Jesse Bjorkman has been teaching his students how to hunt and property field dress a moose. It is a lesson that is almost certainly unique in the country — a nation that increasingly shields children from the slightest perceived risk and where “triggers” are a learned response to things unpleasant.

That “majoring in moose” lesson, complete with Bjorkman shooting the moose in front of his watchful students, is in the New York Times as feature story that marvels at and celebrates the thought of middle schoolers going on a hunt with their teacher, and then passing around the still warm heart of a freshly killed moose.

Bjorkman also serves on the Kenai Borough Assembly, where he represents Nikiski. In September, Bjorkman and other conservatives on the borough advanced a resolution declaring their opposition to vaccine segregation, mask mandates and vaccine mandates. The bill was ultimately tabled. But before that vote, Bjorkman spoke to his opposition to government overreach. He fits right in in libertarian-leaning Nikiski.

“After a couple of hours of skinning, cutting and bagging the moose, the students and volunteers brought the severed limbs to the home of Dylan Hooper — a Nikiski Middle & High School teacher who teaches the outdoor-education class with Mr. Bjorkman — to be hung for two days, to tenderize the meat,” writes Kenai Peninsula and New York Times food author Victoria Petersen. The story is illustrated in all its step-by-step bloody detail by Alaskan Ash Adams, who has a stunning portfolio documenting traditional life in Alaska.

“When it came time to butcher, the students were walked through all the things they needed to know: how to sharpen a knife, how to safely hold and glide it across the flesh, where to cut, and how to trim the fat and tendons off the meat,” Petersen writes.

The story is at this link.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Just when all the news is about the teacher unions which are easy to dislike. Lots of tax money for poor return on the investment, hence the education money should follow the child, where the parents gets the choice on a Public or Private school.
    This article restores my faith in Public schools, where as in many places in Alaska the Public school is the only choice for a child’s education. Thank you MRA for this breath of fresh air.

    • Hi Joe,
      Even though Mr. Bjorkman is a teacher at the named school and the participants also, the function was sponsored through the Kenai Peninsula Chapter of Safari Club International. This hunt has been going on for near two decades at this point.
      A large shout out to all of the volunteers, members, and especially, the parents that helped make this possible. Non-the-less, it is a great venue that teaches life-skills students will be able to take anywhere, anytime in their lives. That is something that is missing in many school systems across America, make no mistake.

      • Thanks for pointing this out. Not to diminish what these teachers are doing, but yes, we were taking school groups out for educational hunts back in the 90’s and the program has been ongoing with new instructors coming on and old timers moving on by attrition. We also had an approved and implemented outdoor education program correlated to State and STEM standards in all our area middle schools with the State of Alaska’s Hunter Education program, additional firearm safety and shot placement training using interactive shooting systems, ethics, Board of Game process and conservation history and biological methodology included. Again, this is not new but a continuation of what many wonderful and dedicated teachers, agency and layman sportsmen volunteers did for previous generations of children. Informed choices and life building skills galore. Thanks!

  • This is the same man that bragged that the Vax gave him the virility of an 18 year old at an assembly meeting. Check the Must Read Alaska article.

    • I think you are confused, Kai.
      Any person making such a claim does not fit with the description of Mr. Bjorkman whatsoever. Color me skeptical.

    • ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTk-69f64KU’ in fairness he didn’t say it gave him the virility of an 18 year old, he said he’d had a marked increase in male energy…a very large increase in energy…

  • I used to chafe at the No Child Left Behind nationwide testing and argue that kids in the Bush possessed skills that could not be assessed with those tests. And that those skills are every bit as important, if not more so, to their locale.
    .
    This is a perfect example. How many kids in big coastal cities could field dress a moose and tell you how, and why to hang it? Or tell you which plants will go good with it? Sure, they could quote the Quadratic Equation, but the only “roots” they’re going to find with it won’t put food on the table. Unlike the “roots” and plants our local kids know.

  • Trim the fat ?? Get a clue.

    Otherwise …good job.

  • The scale of processing game can be a useful knowledge in Alaska. I would think it would classify as something students learn from their parents when they go hunting. If the school is involved then perhaps it could be and after school or extracurricular event. I’m not sure it qualifies as important enough to take away classroom time for standardized curriculum.

    • Oh my. You always come up with something to say, Greg.

      Perhaps the kids would be better off ingesting CRT and LGBTQWXYZ propaganda within the bounds of “standardized curriculum.”

      • What did I say that didn’t meet your approval summer? I lived in the bush for 20 years and I can tell you most of the kids I saw grow up knowing how to butcher a moose by the age of five. They are lacking enough time in the day for Reading writing and arithmetic. We did e-weeks, exploration week every 6 weeks and for a week’s time, the kids got to do a different project such as trapping, woodworking carving cooking and various other subjects including photography and sewing. We did recognize that the kids need others experiences in life. The kids got to pick which class they want to sign up for but usually it was for half a day, for 5 days every 6 weeks. If you don’t have anything productive to say I would recommend just shutting your trap next time.

  • These kids will need these skills. In Biden’s America with runaway inflation, empty grocery shelves, and soaring fuel prices, survival skills become more and more important. What a great teacher, get the kids out in nature, away from social media, and no masks in sight. We need more Mr. Bjorkmans in our classrooms.

  • More reason why UA ought to become again an affordable two year community college. Focusing on the basics. Continue as a 4 year institution it will meet the same fate as sheldon jackson college.

  • If you’re teaching, hanging a moose for two days is not going to tenderize it should’ve read two weeks

    • Might not be edible in two weeks?

  • Not every kid has parents that hunt, even in Alaska. It’s a good thing for Mr. Bjorkman to do, as I understand it there is a teacher in the Mat-Su doing the same thing, probably more around the state. They use community hunt or other special permits. I haven’t read the whole article at the NYT but will when I get a chance.

    • I never knew a family that didn’t hunt and provide food while I was in the bush for 20 years. It’s part of their culture and their lifestyle. But I do suppose there was some City kids on the road somewhere that don’t get to experience Alaska.

  • This is a wonderful skill to learn! Gonna need it soon just feed your family. Brush up on your rabbit snare skills too!

  • This will be the best knowledge for these youngins! Whether they stay and use it…they will always carry this with them for always! and know! It can be a way of life!
    Awesomeness, too the teachers of real health and life skills 101!

  • This is WHAT needs to be taught to our “kids”. Survival skills for our youth and allows them to learn how to survive in the local areas. Not having to DEpend upon stores etc.. Of course you have to get a few things from the stores. This is what I call “organic food” and best for you to eat. Alaska supplies the organic meat, fruit and vegetables.

  • Sorry Sue, the no-pay wall link above is NOW a pay wall..

  • You don’t know much about moose or other kid meat (or for that matter the beef you buy, do you mark?

  • Wild meat.

    Dang auto-check!

  • Commenters are all caught up in politically-correct agreement on this story. Everyone should learn to hunt and dress game. Just like everyone should learn to change a flat tire, make pancakes, and sew on a button. However, these are things they should learn from their parents with no school credits.
    .
    A high school diploma should prove proficiency in reading, writing, mathematics, history, biology, physics, civics, the classics and the Western Canon, etc. A high school grad should be able to identify, and explain the purpose of, every organ in a moose without ever having seen the same. The pursuit of hobbies and vocations should never be conflated with the academic rigor that should be the staple of a high school education. Our culture is unravelling for want of properly informed voters.

    • I can’t argue with anything you say here, Wayne.

    • Glad you agreed with me Wayne and Jeff. When I took hunter safety back in the day, part of the course was learning how to dress game. Does anyone know if they still teach that as a required learning of the course? I’m sure these kids have to have a hunter safety certificate before they can legally hunt.

    • If everyone were to take part in hunting there would be no game left to hunt. Currently about 6% of the US population hunts, there are limits special seasons, special permits, and other restrictions in place with only 6% of the US population taking part in hunting.

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