Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Moose killed while charging couple near Victor

One of the problems that the people out West and in Alaska and Canada face is that wild life like moose and elk often hang out in residential neighborhoods, particularly in the winter because they are safe from predators there and because people feed them. But then they can get ornery and attack humans. Moose often look slow and docile but then can, suddenly and without warning, kick out with all four feet from seemingly impossible angles and smack you right in the head. Hard enough to break bones and strike you dead. Bull moose especially can get irrationally belligerent during their rut period in the Fall.


A state warden said there’s a lesson to be learned in a recent moose-and-man encounter that left the animal dead and the human shaken.

A state warden said there’s a lesson to be learned in a recent moose-and-man encounter that left the animal dead and the human shaken.
A couple of weeks ago, a young man and his girlfriend decided to take their dog for a walk on a popular neighborhood trail on the north end of Victor.
“Apparently this little trail is one everyone in the neighborhood likes to walk on,” said Aaron Berg, a warden sergeant with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The lush area near the river had also attracted a young moose that Berg believes was getting tired of being barked at and chased by neighborhood dogs.
“It seemed like every yard had dogs, and those dogs were barking,” Berg said. “I think the moose was starting to feel a little agitated.”
The couple’s dog was fixated on another dog running up and down a fence line as they neared the spot where the moose was standing.
“The kid looked up and saw the moose kind of moving toward them,” Berg said. “He went up and grabbed his dog and yanked it back. When he looked up, the moose continued to advance.”
The young man’s dog was still barking at the dog on the other side of the fence when the man grabbed it one more time and yelled.
About that time, the dog looked up and saw the moose coming its way. The dog immediately ran back down the trail to the man’s girlfriend.
“By this time, the moose had just had it,” Berg said. “It started picking up speed.”
The man was backing down the trail when his feet caught on some cottonwood branches or roots. As he was falling backwards, he drew his 9mm pistol.
“He told me he didn’t remember discharging the pistol,” Berg said. “He shot a whole bunch of times. One shot hit it in the front of the neck, piercing its jugular and esophagus. The moose started to turn and he was still squeezing off shots. He hit it in the side.”
The moose walked off and died about 100 feet away.
The couple called and reported the encounter.
After he looked at the moose tracks and found the empty brass shell casings, Berg said he determined the man had acted in self-defense.
“He felt horrible,” Berg said. “He didn’t want to have to do that.”
Berg said the moose was about seven feet away when the man opened fire. Just from its tracks, Berg said he could see it was in a full-on charge.
If the man had not been carrying a pistol, he would have likely been hurt badly, if not killed, Berg said.
“He was protecting himself,” Berg said. “If that moose would have got on him, he would have been hurt pretty badly. He was lucky that one round hit it.”
Everyone should remember that moose can be extremely dangerous animals, especially during the fall rutting season.
“People there were all upset after the moose was killed,” Berg said. “This time of the year, moose are rutting. Obviously, it was agitated with all the dogs being off leash.
“I think it was just tired of being pushed around,” he said. “The big message from this incident is that during the rut in the fall time of the year, it would be nice if people didn’t let their dogs run around loose. Sometimes they disturb wildlife, and sometimes that wildlife just snaps.”
Berg said the meat was processed and given to some families in need in the Victor area.

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