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No One Listens To Me

I keep telling people that the biggest danger in Alaska is moose, but people think I’m exaggerating. How about the opinion of an Alaskan wildlife biologist?

CBS reports Caution warned after Alaska moose attacks

Jessy Coltrane, an Anchorage-area state wildlife biologist, said moose are not predators and charge only when they feel threatened or their personal space is trespassed. But that distance that can vary widely from moose to moose, Coltrane said.

“The best practice around moose is to go away around a moose. Assume every moose is a serial killer standing in the middle of the trail with a loaded gun,” said Coltrane, urging people to treat them with more respect.

The “personal space” of a moose can be 1 to 500 miles, depending on the season. Just for Badtux, one of the attacks was to a “touron” who was “just trying to pet” 1500 pounds of psycho-protein under a shag carpet.


1 Badtux { 05.27.11 at 10:08 pm }

Thing about moose is, they go where they want to go. Brown bears (grizzly bears for those who don’t “get” bear colors) don’t care for people, tries to stay away from people, is rarely encountered around people, so the fact that a brown bear can rip you into small shreds of meat doesn’t affect most folks in Alaska. A brown bear isn’t going to hang around in the middle of a highway (unless some moron fed him and he got a taste of human food!), he’s going to head into the deep woods. But a moose… if he feels like standing around in the middle of a highway just because, that’s what he’ll do. Doesn’t need no reason to do it. Just does it. And if you come along in your car and want by him… well. I’ve heard of moose charging cars in that situation. I don’t want to even think of being on a motorcycle in that situation… that’s one where you turn around and proceed back to your prior location as fast as possible, IMHO. He won’t rip you into small shreds of meat, but being a flat meat pudding on the roadway is no fun either…

2 Bryan { 05.27.11 at 10:44 pm }

One of the first things I learned when I arrived in Alaska, was if I was bringing in a Volkswagen, I needed to stop by the VW dealer in Anchorage after the car was shipped in, and have them change the horn. Moose hate the sound of the original VW Bug horn for some weird moose reason, and will stomp on your car if you beep at them to encourage them to get out of the road. They had pictures of the results of Bug v. Moose conflict, and the Bug lost, big time.

They are a real threat on the Iditarod, because they will use the race course, and they view a dog team as a wolf pack and attack. Susan Butcher lost several dogs in a moose attack before an armed musher arrived to shoot the moose.

After white bears, which will hunt people, moose are the worst. As you say, the browns will avoid you, but moose will get right in your face.

3 oldwhitelady { 05.29.11 at 8:33 am }

Definitely, stay away from the moose. They’re big and wild! Why would anyone try to pet such a creature, if it wasn’t tame?

4 Bryan { 05.29.11 at 2:54 pm }

Because they are plant eaters, and people think plant eaters are harmless. They have never encountered livestock, like bulls, so they think that because they won’t eat you, they are not a threat. They think life is a theme park.