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Question about wildlife in your yard/streets and cars idling in public places

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  • Question about wildlife in your yard/streets and cars idling in public places

    I am not sure if this is the best place to post this, but I was curious about a couple of things before our move;

    1) As far as wildlife goes, obviously taking your dog for a walk or even doing yard work in Alaska will be different than doing those things in another state. Some scenarios we talk about is "what if we´re walking our dog down the street (say on a side street in Healy or Soldotna or Tok etc), how do people living there doing those things deal with the chance a bear or moose pops up around the corner in the street?" How do you prepare for these things, do you carry a gun or bear mace at all times you go for an evening stroll? Do you avoid going for a walk after a certain time, or maybe you do you just think "we´ll see what happens if we come across something?"
    Or what if you leave your house, do Alaskans look around to make sure they don´t walk into a bears mouth of a mooses foot when they leave their house, or is that just done without thinking about it? If you´re doing yard work, do you stay more alert to the surroundings or does it just come natural for Alaskans to be more alert than normal?
    Just curious about those things.

    2) When you live in places where you´re leaving your cars running while you eat in a restaurant or go grocery shopping because of the -30+ temperatures, do cars get stolen sometimes (or often) in these places (like Tok, North Pole, etc) and does the car insurance cover you for car theft if the car is idling in a public place in these scenarios? Is it even legal to leave your car idling like this in Alaska?

  • #2
    While the odds differ somewhat form one local to another, you're VERY unlikely to see a bear while walking your dog down the street, or doing yard work. I live in a very rural area on the distant outskirts of Fairbanks and have only seen a small black bear on my property once in 30+ years. Within that same period there have been only a few transient brown bears which migrated through the greater area and kept on going.

    Moose on the other hand are everywhere, and you're most likely to encounter them in winter, when they're hungry, stressed and grouchy. My neighbor was stomped quite badly while walking her dog some years ago. Cows with calves are especially dangerous, and are not affectionate toward dogs. When there's a moose hanging around my place I do take look outside before throwing the door open for the dog.

    My vehicles all have pretty small displacement engines which do not retain heat for very long when shut off in extremely cold temps. I do sometimes let the vehicle idle while I'm shopping, etc. if the temp is in the -30's (unless an emergency, I prefer not to operate my vehicles at -40 or colder; it's just too hard on the equipment). In those instances I leave the vehicle doors locked. It's a calculated risk. It helps that there tend to be fewer meth addicts wandering around outside looking for something to steal when it's -30F, perhaps with the exception of places like LosAnchorage. But no, insurance will not cover theft if you leave a vehicle running with the key in it .
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

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    • #3
      Once a vehicle is warm you can leave it for an hour or more even a diesel truck does fine at -30 once warmed up. I never leave mine idle. New gas cars start at -40 even cold soaked. It is much better to plug in both but not the end of the world for a gas car/truck. A good diesel will start at -20 - -30 without a block heater warmup but I would not count on it daily. Crackheads in the city, Moose and bear in Alaska always a good ideal to stay alert while walking. My wife walks daily and carry pepper spray for two legged problems and dogs.
      DENNY

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      • #4
        Thank you. I was curious about the cars idling because when we looked at youtube videos in Tok we found a few where the people showed 5-15 cars in the grocery store parking lots all running, or outside a small restaurant, and the person taking the videos said "this is what you see when you´re there in -30 or -40"
        We didn´t even think about people locking their car doors when the cars were idling lol we just figured it is so cold nobody is walking around anyhow to steal them.

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        • #5
          I pack a handgun when I walk my dog, or just walking myself. I'm pretty much armed all the time. I have town guns, and woods guns. I have remote start on my vehicle. It can idle without being stolen. Don't be a fool. Leave that to the other guy. Be vigilant.
          Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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          • #6
            I let my kids play outside by themselves without packing hand cannons. Gasp!

            Keep in mind that bears and moose don't want anything to do with people. Being smart about your situation is the best action in my opinion. Don't surprise bears, threaten their food, or get near a sow with cubs. For moose, don't corner them, or get close to a cow with a calf. For all cases above, if they hear you or smell you ahead of time, you'll never know they were even there. There are tons of brownies around Russian River trail and thousands of strollers get pushed down and back each summer.

            Don't over think the critters and cold- just move up and you'll learn how we do it here, and maybe even teach us a thing or two from your neck of the woods. You have the Alps in your back yard?!?!!

            I'll never need a bear fence, I have a 130 decibel daughter!! :-)

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            • #7
              I live 30 miles from the nearest road on a salmon stream and I don't worry about packing a gun all the time. Now, if I lived in Las Anchorage that would be a different story!

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              • #8
                Thanks all for the replies Helpful as always

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                • #9
                  Don't leave your vehicle window down over night or if unattended for a while. A black bear smelling what ever you dropped on the floor or between the seat is going to give you a whole new experience in car care.

                  Patriot Life Member NRA
                  Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
                  Life Member Disabled American Veterans


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                  • #10
                    Leaving it down in the winter may be an issue too.

                    Patriot Life Member NRA
                    Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
                    Life Member Disabled American Veterans


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                    • #11
                      It doesn't get to be winter in Los Anchorage where I live...so my vehicles don't end up idling once they've made the first trip of the day.

                      On the odd occasion when I venture to cold country, whether I leave them idle or not depends on the confluence of location and temperature: If I'm in downtown Fairbanks and it's -30, I probably won't leave it idle....besides there's probably a parking spot with a plug anyway. If I'm at an unattended stopping point 50 miles from anywhere and it's -30, I'll leave it idle.

                      Whether I'm walking around the cabin (away from town) or around the house on the fringes of Los Anchorage, I just try to be aware of moose or bear at all times.

                      There are parts of Los Anchorage where I won't go walking without significant protection for 2-legged varmints ....and since I don't want the hassle that would come with utilizing that protection, I just don't go to those parts of town.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks. Can I ask what is the difference between Anchorage and Los Anchorage? I see people saying Los Anchorage sometimes and I thought Los Anchorage was a part of the city (like maybe the outskirts) but google doesn´t really explain the difference between the two names.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by flopitdown View Post
                          Thanks. Can I ask what is the difference between Anchorage and Los Anchorage? I see people saying Los Anchorage sometimes and I thought Los Anchorage was a part of the city (like maybe the outskirts) but google doesn´t really explain the difference between the two names.
                          We are referring Anchorage to Los Angeles because there are shootings and stabbings everyday. It is a play on words. And true!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by alexander View Post
                            We are referring Anchorage to Los Angeles because there are shootings and stabbings everyday. It is a play on words. And true!
                            Oh, for crying out loud - no, it’s not true. Like any city with 300,000 people, there is crime. And yes, this year has been worse than most. But it’s not some crime ridden hellhole like some make it out to be. Anchorage is largely filled with helpful, kind people who make Alaska a better place. I’ve lived here for 41 years and have never been robbed, never felt threatened, and never get the need to carry a sidearm for either people or moose or bears. Of course, I did get charged by a bear last year, but that one was my fault.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brian M View Post
                              Oh, for crying out loud - no, it’s not true. Like any city with 300,000 people, there is crime. And yes, this year has been worse than most. But it’s not some crime ridden hellhole like some make it out to be. Anchorage is largely filled with helpful, kind people who make Alaska a better place. I’ve lived here for 41 years and have never been robbed, never felt threatened, and never get the need to carry a sidearm for either people or moose or bears. Of course, I did get charged by a bear last year, but that one was my fault.
                              Lived here 47 years and have seen many changes, but I have to agree with Brian!roud:
                              When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
                              '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"
                              2018 12' Moto Jet "River Pup"

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