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

The Discovery Channel series "Deadliest Catch" is filmed out on the Bering Sea, which means the footage captured each season offers a rare glimpse into a majestic natural world. Across 18 seasons, the vessels and fleet that set sail from Dutch Harbor, Alaska to fish the treacherous waters of the sea risk their lives to catch king crab, opilio crab, and more, keeping markets and restaurants across the world stocked. Although some fans have stopped watching since they feel like the drama on board the ships may be a bit manufactured after all this time, it is still a thrill to behold the open waters of the region and its perils.

In addition to dodging the punishing elements while doing back-breaking work, the various crews of the fleet frequently navigate choppy seas, ice-cold temperatures, and more, as they struggle to meet quotas and catch shares (via GCaptain) that have made their jobs only slightly less deadly. But during the annual fishing season, the fleet is also able to take in the sights and creatures that everyday people otherwise seldom ever get to see.

Of all the animals of the Bering Sea, there are some that, if sighted, bring about good luck, as well as promises of success and fortune for the vessel that discovers them.

A deckhand once braved the icy waters for a dead walrus

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.