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Rick Sinnott

If there's one thing I miss in retirement, it's the occasional rush of adrenaline, often triggered by a close encounter with a moose, bear, or politician.

My wife has done her best to ease my transition from work to play. Which makes me think she's getting me the new Cabela's action game, Survival: Shadows of Katmai , for Christmas. She saw me thumbing through my Cabela's Christmas catalog the other day. Right up front, after the holiday whole-smoked ring-necked pheasant and sausage and cheese samplers, several pages of interactive computer games caught my eye. When I sensed her staring at me, I stood up, stretched, and walked into another room to give her a chance to examine the page more closely...

Rick Sinnott

Near the end of the movie "Season of the Witch," a small band of medieval adventurers is surrounded by howling wolves. The monk says, "Wolves." Another character asks, "What'll we do?" Nicolas Cage, playing a knight in tarnished armor, says, "Kill as many as you can."

Welcome to wildlife management as it is currently practiced in Alaska. Not so different from the way it was practiced in the Middle Ages.

I am not opposed to reducing numbers of wolves to increase numbers of prey animals -- wolf control -- so long as wolves constitute a serious problem and the program is scientifically justified, temporary and cost effective. Wolf control for the sake of killing wolves is none of the above...

Rick Sinnott

A mandala is a geometric design, often circular, used to focus meditation on the mysteries of the universe. A moose is a large, herbivorous mammal whose meat is highly prized by hunters. A moose mandala that combines the two is useful for meditating on the mysteries of a universe full of moose...

Rick Sinnott

Here’s another recipe for disaster cooked up by a member of the tea party. A congressional bill from the Tea Party Caucus would allow the U.S. Border Patrol to ignore 36 environmental laws on federal land within 100 miles of an international border. H.R. 1505 was recently reported out of committee for action by the full U.S. House of Representatives...

Rick Sinnott

At the urging of 49 Writers and book-lovers throughout the state, Gov. Sean Parnell has proclaimed Oct. 8-15 Alaska Book Week, a statewide celebration of books by Alaskans or about Alaska. We do love to read about ourselves...

Rick Sinnott

Every morning in early September a cheechako I know exclaimed over the increasing number of yellow leaves fluttering on the aspen trees. Some things are better left unsaid. Calling attention to each newly yellowed leaf is like teasing a teenager about a new zit every morning. I finally had to growl at her that Alaskans don’t dwell on that annual rite of fall.

Of course, we all comment on the first spray of yellow leaves in late July or August. But we share this news with family and friends in the same hushed tone with which we point out a dead dog on the highway...

Rick Sinnott

Four years ago the Alaska Legislature offered Gov. Sarah Palin and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game a special deal: $400,000 to “educate” voters on predator control . The money -- spent mostly on a video , glossy brochures and public presentations -- was meant to persuade and reassure Alaskans that predator control is essential and effective...

Rick Sinnott

Another bunch of Outsiders suffer a mauling in Alaska. I’m not just referring to the grizzly bear attacking seven teens in late July. I’m talking about the drubbing dished out by Alaskans who believe a gun is the best -- some would say only -- insurance against a bear attack.

A flurry of swats and biting comments were delivered in response to articles in the Anchorage Daily News. Within days the first article racked up 945 often acidic jabs. Several follow-up articles provoked another 569 shots. Most of the authors used pseudonyms, but many comments appeared to be written by Alaskans...

Rick Sinnott

My yard is infested with weasels. Working on my winter wood supply, I have to watch where I step. Out of the corners of my eyes, as the splitting maul rises and falls, I see flashes of brown fur. My woodpile rustles.

Last winter a short-tailed weasel in its snow-white winter pelt, an ermine, visited our bird feeder to ferret out salmon skins and, after Thanksgiving Day, to worry the turkey carcass. We often found its distinctive tracks, like a series of colons, punctuating the snow around our home...

Rick Sinnott

Snap. Crackle. Pop. The faint pattering of a bowl of Rice Krispies sifted from the surrounding trees. But we weren’t eating breakfast. We were halfway up the Twin Peaks Trail, above Eklutna Lake, and had paused in a patch of partially defoliated alders to flick a wriggly aggregation of green inchworms off our clothes...

Rick Sinnott

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