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Living With Moose

moose eating pumpkin in front of house Moose, the world’s largest member of the deer family, are a common animal in Alaska. These large ungulates are prized as a valuable game species, and for wildlife viewing. While not normally aggressive, moose can become dangerous to people when they are hungry, tired of walking in deep snow, or harassed by people, dogs and traffic. Vehicle-moose collisions pose the greatest danger to both people and moose; Alaska has the highest rate of moose-vehicle collisions in the world. The most important safety precautions are to slow down while driving and to always give moose plenty of space; never approach a moose. It is also illegal – and dangerous – to feed moose. Moose sometimes also cause problems when they eat landscaping or crops. Despite these nuisances, moose are considered by many to be a symbol of life in Alaska. Living in close proximity to them is part of what makes life in Alaska unique. Learn more about moose in our moose species profile.

Living in Moose Country

People and moose in Alaska have been neighbors for thousands of years. Both humans and moose prefer the same low-lying habitat adjacent to rivers and streams, causing them to come into frequent contact. Moose can be found in Alaska from the Unuk River in the Southeast Panhandle to the Colville River on the Arctic Slope, a span that includes many large Alaskan communities and numerous villages. The key to coexisting with moose is to avoid confrontations by giving moose plenty of space. Never approach a moose!

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Safety in Moose Country

Photo of a bull moose Moose-vehicle collisions are the biggest way people get hurt by moose. Secondarily, people can be hurt when moose charge, stomp and kick to protect themselves. While moose are generally perceived to be less dangerous than bears, more people are actually injured each year in Alaska by moose than bears. Normally, moose will flee when they feel threatened but under certain circumstances, they can become aggressive. Understanding a moose’s body language, and the things that moose do when they are stressed, can help you stay safe. It is also wise to take precautions when driving in moose country, especially in winter when vehicle-moose collisions are most common.

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Handling Conflicts

Do you know what to do when a moose charges? Fortunately most moose charges are bluffs – warnings for you to get back. But if a moose does charge, don’t wait to find out if it’s bluffing. Run or walk quickly and get behind something solid, like a tree, or retreat to a safe place, like inside a building or car.

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