Another Alaska Buffalo/Camel story.

 Captain Richard Baskett pulled the buffalo story on another of our new pilots.  They were pulling strip alert at Galena and were out for a local flight when Rich decided to pull his stunt.  He told the newbie to fly up north to the sand dunes to see if they could find any camels today. The guy looked at him like ‘Say what?”.  So Rich said “Yeh, you know, Camels”. The newbie countered with, “There are no sand dunes or camels in Alaska” Of course Rich proceeded to tell the story about the importing of camels to check out their cold weather attributes and them getting loose and ranging the hills, etc. And of course due their heritage they preferred to stay around the “sand dunes”.  So the doubting newbie embarked on the dubious journey.  Now in truth, there are sand dunes in Alaska. (check Google Earth and about 50 miles north of Galena you can see them from space.)  So sure enough after about 30 minutes, the sand dunes in fact came into sight.  The newbie was amazed and gained new respect for the character of his Pilot mentor.  They looked for the “camels” for awhile just to further authenticate the hoax but were pretty skittish and hard to find.




 A couple of weeks later, the  same crew was pulling alert from Eielson and flew to the Gunnery Range near Big Delta and Rich said that while they were out there they could check out the buffalo.  The newbie, even after the sand dune event, was still dubious of “Buffalo in Alaska?”  He said “No way” and Rich said “I’ll bet you a case of beer”.  To which the newbie bit hook, line and sinker.  Sure enough after a while they came across the Big Delta buffalo herd.  The newbie just shook his head in disbelief.

  Rich commented that “After that, that guy would believe anything I told him”.


*Historian’s note:

 *The area of the Sand Dunes was designated in 1980 as Kobuk Valley National Park, (  The dunes actually cover about 20,500 acres.  By the way, there are no wild camels in Alaska.

 * In 1928, 23 plains bison were moved from Montana to the Delta River area. The herd grew to 400 animals over the next two decades, and hunting began in the 1950s. Today four herds totaling about 900 animals range freely in the state. Controlled hunting is allowed by special permit.