Living With Moose
Moose, the world's largest member of the deer (Cervidae) 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 if provoked, so it is important to know how to respond if you encounter an aggressive moose. Vehicle-moose collisions pose the greatest danger to both people and moose — watch for moose on roadways and follow these safe driving tips. It is illegal — and dangerous — to feed moose. Moose sometimes cause problems when they eat ornamental shrubs or agricultural 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!
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. People can be hurt when moose charge, stomp and kick to protect themselves or their young. Understanding a moose’s body language, and the things that moose do when they are stressed, can help you stay safe.
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.
- Report dangerous moose situations to ADF&G using the wildlife encounter form.
- What to do about aggressive moose
- Orphaned or Dead Moose
- Orphan Moose Calves are Rarely Orphaned (article)
- Tasers for Moose and Bears: Alaska Explores Law Enforcement Tool for Wildlife (article)
- Questions or concerns? Contact your local area office.
Moose Safety Video
Moose-vehicle collisions are the biggest way people get hurt by moose. It is wise to take precautions when driving in moose country, especially in winter when vehicle-moose collisions are most common. For more information, see Driving in Moose Country.