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A photography outing in Alaska turned tragic for a 70-year-old man named Dale Chorman when he was charged and kicked to death by a protective mother moose while trying to take pictures of her newborn calves. The incident occurred as Chorman and his companion were walking through the brush in search of the moose. Moose are not typically aggressive, but become extremely protective of their young if humans venture too close. Moose attacks, especially from cow moose with calves, can be fatal due to their large size and use of kicking and stomping as defensive measures.

Austin McDaniel of the Alaska Department of Public Safety emphasized the need to give moose, especially those with calves, extra space during calving season. The average female moose weighs around 800 pounds, while males can reach up to 1,600 pounds. Moose are known to be more aggressive during calving season, making it important for humans to be cautious and avoid provoking or approaching them in order to prevent dangerous encounters. In the past, incidents of provoking moose have resulted in fatal outcomes, such as a 1995 case where a man was stomped to death after a group of students harassed a cow moose and her calf.

Alaska has a sizable moose population of around 200,000, with an estimated 5-10 moose attacks occurring each year. While most moose attacks are not fatal, they can still be dangerous due to the animals’ size and defensive behavior. Collisions with moose on roadways pose a greater threat to human safety and property, highlighting the importance of avoiding close contact with these large ungulates. Moose calving season typically takes place from mid-May to mid-June, providing a window for humans to be extra cautious and give moose ample space to ensure their safety.

Following the tragic incident, the cow moose involved in Chorman’s death was no longer present in the area, indicating that she had moved on with her calves. Moose attacks, while relatively rare, serve as a reminder of the importance of respecting wildlife and maintaining a safe distance, especially during calving season when moose are more territorial and protective of their young. The risk of encounters with moose can be mitigated by staying informed about their behavior and taking precautions when in areas known to have a significant moose population. Ultimately, avoiding close contact with moose is crucial for both human safety and the well-being of these majestic animals in their natural habitat.

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