There's nothing more Alaskan than seeing a family of moose in your backyard. But an Anchorage biologist is warning this is the most dangerous time of year for encounters with moose. The I-Team has been investigating just how many people in our area are hurt every year.
Half a dozen people in Anchorage are hurt every year. Usually, they escape with only bruises or scratches. In the past decade, moose have killed two people inside the city limits.
It is one of those things that makes Alaska, Alaska. Moose are everywhere. And we love getting up close and personal with them.
But there is a dangerous downside.
Just a few weeks ago, an eight-year-old boy was hurt when he and some friends ran up on a moose, which had just given birth to calves days earlier.
Because children are out of school and moose are protecting newborn calves, biologist Rick Sinnott calls June the most dangerous time of year.
"And so you've got this bad conjunction of two different things: small kids that maybe don't understand what moose are about and moose with calves that are going to be particularly protective," said Rick Sinnott of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
"And so you've got this bad conjunction of two different things: small kids that maybe don't understand what moose are about and moose with calves that are going to be particularly protective," said Sinnott of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
It's not only small children who might get hurt, but also joggers and bikers who suddenly come upon a moose and her calves. So what do you do if a moose starts attacking?
First, Sinnott says, unlike a bear, you can outrun a moose. Then, try to get behind a large object like a tree or car. If that is not an option and the moose starts kicking you, curl up into a ball and stay down. Sinnott believes that could've saved the life of a man who was attacked by a moose on UAA's campus in the mid-1990's.
"And then he kept trying to stand back up. She knocked him down. He tried to stand up. She knocked him down. He tried to stand up. And on the third or fourth try, she managed to kick him in the head," said Sinnott.
The little boy who was attacked last month survived, in part, Sinnott says, because he curled up into a ball until help arrived.
Not only was the man on UAA's campus killed in the mid-90's, so was an elderly woman who came upon a moose and calves in her backyard. The circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery, because she was alone at the time.
Sinnott emphasizes that most of the time, all the moose wants to do is just get away from you and will run away unless it feels cornered.