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Encounter a moose in the wild? Stay away

Most of us are thrilled when we spot a moose in the wild. But, whatever you do, keep your distance from the animal. And do not feed it!

Give them space

If you encounter a moose, give it space and time to move. Do not attempt to move the animal. Not only is it dangerous, but it’s considered harassment and is illegal. If a moose has laid-back ears, pawing the ground, licks its snout, or changes its direction to face you, you’re too close and need to back away.

How close is too close? Extend your arm out as far as it can go and hold up your thumb as though you are giving the moose a thumbs-up sign. If you cannot cover the moose with your entire thumb, you are too close and need to slowly back away from the animal.

Don’t risk the life of your dog (or yourself)

When enjoying the outdoors or taking your dog(s) on their walk, remember to keep them leashed at all times. Dogs allowed to run off-leash are at substantial risk of being injured or killed by animals trying to defend themselves from what they perceive as a predator. If your dog happens to encounter a moose, the thousand-pound animal will aggressively try to stomp on your dog. If the dog runs back to you, or you go after your dog in an attempt to catch them, you are at risk of being severely injured as well.

Feeding wildlife is illegal

Not only is it illegal to feed wildlife, but it is also very harmful to their health. Wildlife has a complex digestive system that is not adapted to handle human food. When people intentionally place or distribute food that does not naturally occur in the animals’ habitat, such as carrots, birdseed, hay, or salt blocks, it can lead to illness or death.

It’s also important to note these tips and rules apply to all wildlife, not just moose. If you see unsafe human behavior such as feeding or harassing wildlife, please report it to your local wildlife office or a park ranger if on public lands.

##RVT1044

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KellyR
6 months ago

After Vietnam a friend and his new wife decided to homestead in Alaska. The first year living in a tent they built a small log cabin in the middle of nowhere. At one point in time they were “locked” in their cabin for two days as a moose outside the door did not think that they or the cabin belonged in “his home” I have seen moose only from afar in South Dakota. They are huge.

Dave
6 months ago

A few years ago, while camping in a rustic area in Alaska, we were woke up to the noise of branches and leaves rustling. I opened the front window shades and there in front of us was a very large female moose. After watching a bit I decided to get a picture of the RV with the moose standing by it. As I opened the side door, there were 2 very small offsprings playing in the bushes. As not to get between the mother and kids, we decided that picture wasn’t that important.

The Lazy Q
6 months ago

What, cute little bullwinkle that can weigh 1000 lbs plus, dangerous…say it isn’t so.
Lived 7 years in Alaska, people killed every year because they just have to touch or feed it. One year a student at university of Alaska was killed because he just had to go through that door there and not go around to another, yep little moosey said no and won.
I had pictures of two bulls racking it up behind my house that butted up against Chugach forest it was amazing they spent hours in a headlock before one lost and parted ways. Love them animals.

Steve
6 months ago

I’ve had encounters with moose in Alaska, including cow moose walking down residential streets in Anchorage and snacking on shrubs in front yards. But the most memorable actually occurred just inside the south entrance to Yellowstone NP in 1973. I was working on a research project at one of the geyser basins, so drove from Denver to Yellowstone on US 287. I spent that night in Lander, then got a very early start the following morning. Just after checking in at the gate, I glanced to the right when I saw a car with New York license plates parked barely off the pavement with the driver’s door open and engine running. About 15′ from the car was a woman looking through the viewfinder of an Instamatic camera (remember those?) while walking up to a bull moose. I really didn’t want to see how that scenario ended, so I kept driving!

Dennis E Prichard
6 months ago

Having worked in more than a few places where moose live (Isle Royale NP and Alaska), I’ve had my share of moose encounters, one where my whole family of four was nearly killed by one. I’ve seen one kick a 2-foot diameter by 4-foot long log thirty feet with just a swift hind leg. The beautiful campground signs on Isle Royale, expertly routed out of solid redwood, were made into matchsticks by bull moose trying to mount them during the rutting season. These animals are crazy, especially during that time, Being a wildlife biologist, I would say this species is near the top of the most dangerous category. Even grizzly bears don’t tangle with them. They know they would lose!

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
6 months ago

Hey, Dennis. Haven’t heard (much) from you lately. How’s it going? I hope all’s well with you and yours. Take care, and stay healthy. 😀 –Diane

Mike Whelan
6 months ago

Great advice. As a wildland firefighter I have had multiple encounters that could have ended badly. The first cow moose disrupted our crews (20 plus firefighters) plan of attack on a fire in Washington state. She managed to keep the entire crew from crossing a mountain stream to where we needed to be to control the fire. She kept at it blocking us long enough the fire came to us. The second was in northern Idaho. We were on a structure protection assignment. A large black bull moose attacked our engine repeatedly as he did not want us on his road. He won. Later that same day we were setting up a “spike camp” for the night. We decided to “circle the wagons” or fire trucks in this case and set up our camp in the center of the circle. It was a good call. The same bull visited our camp as we were about to bed down. He circled our engines and even tested a couple to see if he could move them to get at us. If in moose country avoid the moose. They are dangerous.

Barnjai
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Whelan

Being from the Southeast, I never really thought much about a moose being dangerous. We only encountered white tail deer that bolted when we surprised them on a trail. Then I read the YA novel, “Hatchet” and my view of moose as a placid kind of good natured Bullwinkle changed dramatically. No way would I approach one now. They rank right up there with bears.