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Thread: Iditarod musher "ambushed" by a moose

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    Default Iditarod musher "ambushed" by a moose

    http://community.adn.com/adn/node/159913

    Armed, experienced, and yet she still got beat up by a moose.

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    You know those moose are getting out of control.. starting up gangs, wandering trails... looking for trouble. We may have an larger fear even than global warming if they start getting together and cornering us one by one... We'll have to start up an aerial moose hunting program...
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    Default not all moose are bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by denalihunter View Post
    You know those moose are getting out of control.. starting up gangs, wandering trails... looking for trouble.
    Blanket blame statements like that are never true.... You know darn well that ALL the moose aren't like that... only the ones that wear their pants so low that they're showin' 4 inches of boxers...

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    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    So technically they Allowed injury to there dogs... WOW.. There are so many mistakes in how they acted and reacted... and it kinda pisses me off.

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    I didn't read it that way - can you explain some of their errors?

    Other than not being able to quickly grab a firearm, and then taking way too long (hesitated too long imo) before putting the moose down, I didn't catch their errors. And regarding the hesitation, I kinda assumed that they weren't thrilled about field dressing and then dragging the moose back, but I don't think it actually said that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ret25yo View Post
    So technically they Allowed injury to there dogs... WOW.. There are so many mistakes in how they acted and reacted... and it kinda pisses me off.
    So many mistakes? Like what?

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    From what I seen, they handled it as best they could. Could you imagine the outrage if they would have just started shooting before they gave the moose a chance to run away? Heck, if I shot every moose that stepped in my way for a moment, I'd be doing nothing but packing meat to ADF&G every day.. It's a tough call, and we weren't there, but at least that's what I take from what I read.
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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I have been in that exact situation more than once. Unless you have experience holding a large dog team that is being stomped by a moose, your opinion that they did something wrong is null and void!

    Karen is good people and a savvy woman if there ever was one.

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Susan Butcher had a Moose run wild through her team a number of years ago and at the time she didn't carry a firearm with her, if I recall correctly it was one of the Osmar boys who came upon the scene and produced an AR15, dispatched the Moose and saved Susan a LOT of grief. Oh, and this all took place during the Iditarod.

    I don't see where Karen or her handler did anything wrong. Sometimes, Moose happens.
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    This year could result in the same thing during the Iditarod. A bunch of moose out there on the trail.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaHippie View Post
    Susan Butcher had a Moose run wild through her team a number of years ago and at the time she didn't carry a firearm with her, if I recall correctly it was one of the Osmar boys who came upon the scene and produced an AR15, dispatched the Moose and saved Susan a LOT of grief. Oh, and this all took place during the Iditarod.

    I don't see where Karen or her handler did anything wrong. Sometimes, Moose happens.
    Roger that. Back in the early 90's Charlie Boulding killed a moose during the Yukon Quest. It was somewhere between Mile 101 and Fairbanks (Angel Rocks maybe?). If I remember right, he ended up killing it with his axe. In any case, not an optimal situation, but these folks (mushers) do what they need to do, with the tools thay have. Much respect.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Wow, that's crazy, but not out of the norm. Almost got stomped into the ground this past season, I still won't travel without a trail pistol. A POS taurus 22 magnum probably saved my rib cage. One of the malamutes that I take with me on snowshoe hikes got stomped so bad, they thought he was dead. Poor 165 lb. fella has trouble in the deep snow now, but he still does OK. He'll walk right near your hip when he sees a moose now. My female is fearful of moose too, since she was a puppy.

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    Frostbitten ...

    That wasn't Charlie Boulding ... It was Jeff Mann and the incident happen just before getting to Angel Creek. Jeff already was having a very bad day long before he came on that starving moose; he then compounded his errors by overreacting and hacking the moose to death. His already bad day then got a lot worse.

    AlaskaHippy ...

    I was there. I talked with Susan at the Rabbit Lake checkpoint when she came in with 3 dead dogs and a beat up dogteam. Her moose was pitifully thin, and refused to give up the trail. It was a deep snow winter, and the moose had yarded up in the trail after the trail breakers had come through. The moose got into her team and was going to fight the dogs to the death. Susan carried no firearm ... too much weight ... and the dogs paid the price. Dewey Halverson of Trapper Creek finally came up from behind, and rescued Susan's dogs. He killed the moose with his Charter Arms .44Special Bulldog Special stoked with handloads. My identical carry piece of that time weighed 21 oz loaded. Too much weight for Susan. And that moose was in her team for 20 minutes before help arrived.

    I have more than 30 years of moose incidents with my dogteams. Most moose simply want to get away. They will come through your team to escape. Your job under those circumstances is to give them a clear escape path. If they run through the team towards the sled, throw the sled over on its side and roll off the trail in the same direction and the moose will choose the unblocked side. You can imagine how huge an adult moose is as you watch it thunder by on the hard trail as you're laying in 4' of snow. They're just trying to get away.

    The problem arises when the moose either refuses to get off the trail or gets tangled in the gangline. Then all bets are off. My one problem of that type occurred about 10 years ago. A moose got into my 12 dog team and intended to kill my dogs. I dispatched him with 2 rounds from my S&W M396 .44Special loaded with BuffaloBore Heavy .44Special loads - 255 gr hardcast @975fps. Like the earlier Charter Arms .44, it weighs 21 oz loaded. The problem with most handguns is that they are heavy enough that they end up in the sled bag, not on your person, then getting to them when needed is often a problem. In winter gear, I wear mine in the small of my back so I can get to it under the hem of my parka. And at 21 oz, its just a regular part of my kit. (My summer carry piece is a S&W M329 .44 mag - 26 oz empty/31 oz loaded - out of respect for bears.)

    A dog musher's job is to care for and protect his dogteam. Sometimes that requires a gun.

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    AkDoug ...

    You're right. The very deep snow winters are problematic. Moose have a harder time and are reluctant to give up the trail. But the most frightening possibility in an extremely deep snow winter is in the Farewell area, home to a free ranging bison herd. If one of those 2000# bowling balls were to get into your team it would be serious ... might be time for a 12 ga with Brenneke magnum slugs or speed loaders for your .44 mag. I've seen them out there, but they were at least 50 yards away and just watched us go by.

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification Rick. I wondered how clear my memory was, apparently not as good as I thought.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    Roger that Rick. I was at the Mile 101 dog drop that year. Charlie won the race, but you're correct in that it was Jeff Mann that had the moose encounter.

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    A post script to Susan's '85 moose incident ....

    The Iditarod rules state that if a game animal is killed, no team may pass that spot until the animal is gutted and the trail cleared. After the moose was dispatched, dogteams started stacking up behind Susan's team, providing a good work force. The moose was gutted and rather than try to move the 800# moose off the trail, since it was into rigor, and the temp was well below zero, a bunch of dog drivers, anxious to get moving again, tilted the stiff moose back on its feet, and leaned it against a cutbank on the left side of the trail. A few hours later, I came along ... groggy, hardly alert, my leaders baulked about going over a small rise in the trail. I growled a "Hut - hut," and they continued. As my sled crested the rise I shown my headlamp to the left, and into the angry blood red eyes of Susan's moose, looking down at me fierce and still fighting mad, but now frozen. Initially, the surprise had me grabbing for my pistol. I was then awake and quite alert for several hours.

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    Frostbitten ...

    Jeff Man was my close neighbor for several years on the Hot Springs Rd. A good guy, but he was out of patience when he came on his moose. With a bit of thought, there were other ways to deal with it. LaVonn Barve of Wasilla had a similar incident on the '85 Iditarod, about 20 miles after Susan's moose. But LaVonn's situation happened in daylight. Starving moose yarded up in the trail and refusing to give way. He simply snowshoed a side loop around the moose and continued on. The rest of us used his side trail to bypass that sad moose. Brains over brawn.

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    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    I could have sworn I posted a response about the things that were wrong with the situation.... not here anymore...hmmm If the moose has 2 opportunities to run through your dogs, you were unprepared, unaware... and should definately make some changes in the way you run.

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

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