Gone moo

On the shoulders of the Chugach Mountains high above Alaska’s largest city, a hunt is underway for Betsy the cow.

Many places in the U.S., this would not be news, but there are not many cows in the suburbs of Anchorage. Lots of cow moose, but almost no cows of a domestic kind.

And a cow on the loose?

No one in modern times has heard of a cow on the loose in or around the city. The first reports of one wandering Far North Bicentennial Park were greeted with the same sort reaction a report of a cow in New York’s Central Park might attract:

“You’re hallucinating.”

There was plenty of skepticism when the local public radio station in November reported that there was “wild” cow loose on the Hillside. Then a video of a feral, if not wild, cow surfaced some days before Christmas and was widely circulated.

“Apparently someone’s son almost hit it (skiing) on Spencer loop,” a popular Hillside ski trail, Anchorage skier Doug O’Harra reported on Christmas Eve.

Going into the New Year, the Anchorage Fat Bike Facebook page posted a photo of the cow with a “Happy Moo Year” greeting, and this week Betsy’s owner – Frank Koloski – emerged to ask for helping in bringing her home.

Koloski is the driving forced behind Rodeo Alaska, so it would make some sense for him to have a cow, if not a bull. He did not respond to a request for more information on Bestsy, but he did post this on the Fat Bike Facebook page on Friday:

“Good Morning fellow Fat Tire Bikers. I sincerely appreciate any feed back on any sightings of my cow.

“She has been moving around a lot on the trails and would ask for any specific location if possible . Thank you and God Bless.

“Frank Koloski


Since the post went up, fat bikers have been rallying to the call. Bicentennial Park and the adjacent lands of the Bureau of Land Management, Chugach State Park and Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson are riddled with trails that now attracting signifciant numbers of winter cyclists in a community where fat biking has become an “in” thing.

The cyclists have offered various idea on how to catch the runaway cow, but Koloski, who has also been active on the website, has rejected most of them.

The problem is that Betsy is a little spooky.

“She will allow you to get only so close then she will run, and generally it’s into the woods,” he wrote.

He’s mainly been encouraging people to report up-to-the-minute sightings so he can try to capture the cow, which is lucky to be on the loose in winter.

Grizzly bears are common in the park and surrounding wild lands in summer. Wildlife biologists don’t think a cow would last long in the park if the bears were out, but they are are now in hibernation.

There is hope today social media, not to mention good old word of mouth, can help bring Betsy home. Often bad mouthed for the divisiveness it helps spread across the country, social media has been instrumental in helping bring home lots of dogs, cats and even an Anchorage donkey.







14 replies »

  1. BTW Betsy is definitely a Vegan. I doubt she is a Lesbian. But either way I have no problem with that. Nothing wrong with that.

  2. Do you suppose Betsy was seduced?
    By a horny bull moose?
    Powerline Pass
    Is where the bulls fight for ass.
    I know the rut should be over
    But she might tail her lover
    Maybe confusing romance
    ‘Cause she is a lonely ruminant

    • ‘Ol Betsy escaped one winter
      When there came a moose’s call
      And the rodeo cow named Betsy
      Busted down her stall
      In a blizzard she was lost

      In the dark of the winter I searched
      And there came a heavy snow
      There’s a raven cawing on the hillside
      And I pray it isn’t so!
      Its been 48 nights in a row!

      I ran calling Betseeeeahh
      I ran calling Betseeeeahh

  3. I’d think the two wolf packs which appear in Kincaid Park from time to time would be a real threat to the cow. Not so much the bears. Kowalski needs to round up that cow before the wolves find her.

    • If the wolves find Kowalski’s cow it will take the pressure off the moose in that area for a few days.

  4. Catching cows is something I actually know a lot about. Did it countless times growing up on a dairy farm. So I got to wonder if this Koloski guy actually wants his cow back. Doesn’t sound like it. If he did, he would be doing something about it, rather than collecting reports of sightings and doing nothing.

    My suggestion: It’s winter now. Grasses are covered with snow. So the cow is hungry because it’s slowly starving. And as it loses strength, it’s not going to be expending energy to “run off into the woods”. It’s going to be staying on or near trails as much as possible where travel is easier (no snow to push through). If a livestock/horse trailer was put at a trailhead or two, with hay and grain in it, and the cow was herded to that area … then the cow would tend to remain in that area. The cow would smell the feed and would figure out to show up at the trailer when it becomes quiet. A game camera could confirm what general time the cow comes to eat. Then be waiting there in a vehicle and close the trailer door on the cow when it goes in to eat.

    This technique has probably been used hundreds of thousands of times over history, around the world, to round up errant bovines, horses, sheep, etc. Would likely work here in Anchorage. Perhaps F&G should demand that Koloski do this. Or fine his ass for animal abuse.

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