Meet Buzzwinkle, Alaska's Drunk Moose | VinePair

Meet Buzzwinkle, Alaska’s Drunk Moose

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Buzzwinkle

Photo via Travis / Flickr

We like to think that as a species, we’re unique. But a quick look into the animal kingdom always reveals how far from alone the human animal truly is. Case in point: Buzzwinkle the six-foot-tall moose.

Buzzwinkle lived in Anchorage, Alaska, and made a name for himself as the town drunk. Like any other (human) town drunk, Buzzwinkle had a person who was always there to take care of him. That person was Rick Sinnott, who’s now a columnist at the Anchorage Daily News. Oh, the stories he can tell.

Take the story of how Buzzwinkle earned his nickname. It was in 2007 when Sinnott and Anchorage Daily News columnist Julia O’Malley came across an old moose who had hit the fermented crabapples a little too hard.

“When O’Malley and I arrived, the massive bull was standing rigid, knees locked, with his wide-set eyes fixed in an inscrutable expression,” Sinnott writes. “A long strand of small white lights tangled in his antlers attested to some careless twig noshing in Town Square earlier in the day. The most obvious sign of life was the cloud of vapor venting from his nostrils with every deep exhalation. He was blotto, and he knew it.”

Truly, this is nature at it’s finest. Buzzwinkle slept it off, and when he got up, he faced the walk of shame. The party lights that clung to his antlers trailed behind him like a wedding veil. But this wasn’t even the first time this happened. Sinnott recalls untangling the bull moose multiple times.

Luckily, Buzzwinkle wasn’t a bad drunk. Take how Sinnott describes Buzzwinkle’s attitude after one drunken encounter:

“Like a motorist who had just blown twice the legal limit during a traffic stop, the bull was putting on a good approximation of sobriety but stumbled whenever he stepped on a string of lights,” Sinnott writes. “He was drunk but not disorderly.” Midnight Sun Brewing commemorated Buzzwinkle with an eponymous sour wheat ale brewed with crabapples.

Let’s not judge Buzzwinkle on a couple of drunken nights, though. Sinnott also saw Buzzwinkle wait for a red light to use the crosswalk, snack on shrubs in the city, and generally go about his day as people gathered around for pictures.

Unfortunately, Buzzwinkle is gone now. Sinnott euthanized him after a particularly rough winter took its toll on the old moose. His stories about the drinking habits of both man and beast, however, will live on forever.


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