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The Dead Animal The Deadliest Catch Crew Risked Their Lives To Bring Onboard

For millennia, the Native people of Alaska, and later Bering Sea fishermen, have utilized walruses native to the region for spiritual and potential financial rewards. Since 1972, laws have been in place to limit the harvesting of Pacific walruses and their tusks to only Alaska natives, whether or not the walrus in question is alive or dead.

In Season 9, Episode 15 of “Deadliest Catch,” titled “Man Overboard,” the crew of the Wizard, led by Captain Keith Colburn, comes upon a dead walrus floating in the sea. Since the crew of the vessel does include a deckhand, Lenny Lekanoff, who’s an Alaskan native, efforts to harvest the carcass and bring it on board are attempted. The financial rewards of extracting the tusks from the walrus are high, but the animal’s rapidly decomposing body risks disintegrating from the prodding of the machinery attempting to bring it in.

It’s then that deckhand Freddy Maugatai jumps into the freezing waters to try and help place the snagging hook around the rotting flesh of the animal. The temperature of the water alone is enough to possibly send Maugatai into hypothermia after being in the water for as little as a minute. Despite his fellow deckhands trying to persuade him not to jump in after the carcass, he is unsuccessful in bringing the tusks aboard. It’s another thrilling, random — and dangerous — moment in the annals of “Deadliest Catch” lore.



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