Unsplash | Zachery Perry

High School Teacher Hunts A Moose And Brings It To Class For Students To Butcher

September 27, 2021

Imagine yourself back in high school.

How would you react if one of your teachers carried a moose carcass into class, dumped it on a desk, and told everyone that their new assignment was to butcher the moose?

That's exactly what happened at an Alaskan high school.

It went down at Chugiak High School in Anchorage.


This helps us contextualize things, as moose are a common sight in Alaska.

As the Anchorage Daily News reported, teacher Brian Mason loaded the carcass into his pickup truck to bring to his World Discovery Seminar program students.

He told them they'd spend the day properly butchering the moose carcass, eventually packaging it.

It's a way to pass on cultural traditions while learning basic anatomy.

Unsplash | Zachery Perry

"What I try to emphasize is experiential learning," Mason explained. "You can learn, certainly, about anatomy from diagrams and textbooks and videos, but getting your hands on an animal is a big part of the science aspect of it."

What's the World Discovery Seminar?

Unsplash | Charlene

The goal of the program is to "establish a smaller learning community that creates a sense of identity, belonging, and teamwork."

With this in mind, it makes sense that the 125 students in the program might expect some of their learning experiences to be a little bit different.

Students appreciated the experience.

Unsplash | Lesly Derksen

"We do a lot of things that are more interactive than other classes," student Ryley Edwards said. "It's more fun for learning stuff instead of just on paper."

While students were eager to get going on the project, it was necessary for the teacher to obtain a special permit that enabled him to hunt an animal for educational reasons.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issues a few dozen permits a year.

Flickr | Jack & Petra Clayton

"We don't just issue these Cultural Education Permits to anyone," Tim Spivey of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game explained.

Spivey said the department issues 30 to 40 permits a year, and successful applicants must demonstrate that their proposed program will teach aspects of traditional Alaskan knowledge and values.

How did the lesson go down?

Unsplash | MChe Lee

First, Mason had to give the class a lesson on moose anatomy. From there, he handed out four-inch deboning knives.

One rule of thumb for butchering the best parts of the moose?

"If you wouldn't want it on your steak, you don't want it on the meat," Mason told his students.

"I think that certain experiences you can't really learn from a textbook."

By all accounts, Mason's lesson was a success.

Let us know what you think of this story. How would you react if this became part of your high school curriculum? Share your thoughts in the comments!