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Dougskijors Posted - 12/23/2007 : 6:36:50 PM
I am skijoring in an area with alot of moose sign - droppings & fresh tracks on the trails. The dogs are highly interested and alert. One of my dogs has delusions of grandeur and will take on anything non-human.
I have read some passing comments on the forum about people having trouble with moose.
Are they likely to charge or be aggressive?
We are now past the mating season I think.

A happy Jul season to everyone.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Gail Posted - 01/12/2008 : 9:08:56 PM
On the subject of moose, here's an interesting photo:
This moose came to visit a friend's yard on Christmas day and hung around until New Year's
Lindy Posted - 01/12/2008 : 6:21:25 PM
Yes Lisa – you are right. On my search for a flare gun in the local stores here in Maine, I was quickly reminded that they are to be used to call for emergency help only. Not a bad idea to have one with you for that purpose alone, but not so great for just chasing off moose. Thanks for that web site on bearbangers- I do want something for peace of mind. In the mean time it is back to the pots and pans for me. If that doesn’t work at least I can cook a meal while I wait for them to leave the trail.
Lindy Howe
mooselook Posted - 01/12/2008 : 08:41:48 AM
Not a deer tangled in gangline story, but somewhat similar. On the first day of hunting season two years ago, I was driving back roads to the coast. At one point along a wooded stretch, a buck ran across the road barely yards in front of my car. As I was thinking, phew, that was close, I heard and felt something heavy strike the side of my car and turned in time to see the hind legs of a second deer hanging at the driver's side rear passenger window, then turned to the opposite side windows in time to see the doe fly head over heels off the roof of my car and land in brush beside the road. By the time I got out of the car and ran back to her, she managed to right herself and ran off into the woods, limping. The driver of an on-coming car saw the whole event and stopped to help me pick up the pieces of my roof rack that were strewn all over the road. We speculated she tried to leap over my car but got hung up in the roof racks and kayak cradles. A shot rang out from the woods moments later. Sad to escape a collision with a vehicle only to be struck down by a bullet, but a blessing if she broke or badly injured her leg. Again, not a dog story, aside from having a couple of wide-eyed dogs in the car, but an unusual one.
Cliff Maxfield Posted - 01/12/2008 : 07:30:02 AM
We don't have moose around here. Once in a blue moon some misguided moose will come through.
Yesterday my leaders darn near caught a White Tail deer. We were going down a logging raod. One deer crossed thirty yards ahead of the team. I was watching that one when another WHAM another came across within inches of my leaders heads. This is the closest encounter we've ever had with deer. They generally head for the hills when they see us. Still had this one been a bit slower and got caught by a dog or the gangline in could have got ugly.
lisark_aussies Posted - 01/12/2008 : 12:15:24 AM
I've got something called "bear bangers." It's basically the shape of a shotgun shell and comes with a little thing you load it into, pull back the trigger mechanism and pow, you've got the sound of a firearm but not the bullet.

Here in Canada it is illegal to set off a flare unless it is an emergency to which you want cops and SAR to attend! I would not use a flare for scaring off moose when you can get bear bangers for the same thing.

Here's a website that shows the item that I have in my kit.

What about using an air horn?
Brenda Posted - 01/10/2008 : 11:57:17 AM
First off, I am not a super aim anyway, but as the flare is very light pretty difficult to aim and usually arcs. IF you are in the area of the moose it usually scares them. If you aren't in the ballpark it doesn't work as well, even though the whistling as this red stream flies through the air, quite often does the trick too. As I said though, sometimes, as in often harassed moose, the moose just gets angry and may charge. I think I have only had that happen once but usually they are riled up enough before that it doesn't matter what you do. One thing you can guarantee about moose is they are not predictable. Any animal that will play chicken with a train can't give a lot of thought to what they do. Sometimes, given cow and calf (more likely to get a charge then) I aim for the calf to get it to run and the cow will follow. The only other problem I have had is that if it is extremely cold and your first flare doesn't work (poor aim usually), the second one has cracked the barrel, I guess from the heat one after another, combined with the extreme cold outside. So make sure to check it often or your barrel may fly off when you fire it. I had that happen once. They are only made of hard plastic but one reason usually around $50 and come with about 6 flares.

I think that is a pretty high percentage of success though and has worked on the much harassed Anchorage moose.
Lindy Posted - 01/08/2008 : 8:32:22 PM
I let myself get spooked in a run last night. My mind was wandering and I let the huge fresh tracks start to stress me out.

A few times I grabbed at my headlamp remembering dbseavey’s advice to turn it off. That made me feel better until I started wondering about the half a dozen red blinking lights from bow to stern - all of a sudden I imagined every moose out there chasing us down the trail. It made a long slow run feel so much longer and so much slower. What tricks the mind can play.

Brenda- I think I really like your idea of a flare gun - sounds like a good remedy for me and my wandering mind here in the middle of moose country. I am not familiar with one though – how does the team react to it? Also wondering what happened the other 20% of the time that it didn’t work?
Brenda Posted - 01/08/2008 : 12:27:58 PM
I certainly would NOT recommend bear or pepper spray. Chances of you getting only the moose are about Nil. If you get it anywhere near you then you are also incapacitated so of no help to your dogs, to get out of there, or keep yourself out of the moose's way. I just got it on my glove once and pushed my hair out of my eyes and couldn't keep my eyes open for 10 min.

I use a flare gun, if there is time. On rare occasions (some previously harassed city moose) it can anger them but easy to pull out and easy to fire, even with gloves. Generally I have had about 80% luck and I have had runs where I have run into moose 3 different times one run. If I see a moose standing in the middle of the trail, I pull it out and fire it towards the moose. It has a red whistling stream that in itself is pretty scary but I am sure doesn't feel too great if you happened to hit the moose. It might burn a little but they usually jump up and skidaddle. Olin used to make a nice marine flare gun but I believe they are now Orion and still relatively inexpensive and replacement flares easy to find.
dbseavey Posted - 01/05/2008 : 4:28:16 PM
another thing that works well in the yard is the exploding shells for a 12 gauge, like what they chase geese off the runway with. or a roman candle has about the same effect, just a shorter range.
Dougskijors Posted - 01/04/2008 : 7:10:46 PM
Thanks everyone.
I have been reading the posts to my wife... put it mildly, she has very limited faith in my ability to simultaneously manage poles, skiis, dogs, .44 calibre & bear spray while facing an angry moose...
(she, probably correctly, says I would end up blinded by bear spray, shot in the foot & stomped by the moose) I think I might try the bells and caution
FaceDragger Posted - 01/04/2008 : 5:57:11 PM
I have had a team stomped by a cow moose that had a calf nearby. It was not a fun experience but luckily I only had a couple dogs hurt and we were able to get out of there without any serious injuries. Ive had a lot of close calls but its amazing how fast a moose can appear and start stomping. I carry a .44 in on my sled every run but never had time to actually use it when it really counted. I suggest carrying it in an easy to access location and practice handling and shooting it before you really need to rely on it.

I disagree with shooting a moose (or a bear!!) with rubber bullets on the trail. Thats like asking for an @sswhoopin'. If you need to shoot it, shoot it otherwise let it be. Besides, even if it doesnt charge you, how about the next team coming down the trail that runs into that(now) really p:ssed off moose!!!
helidog Posted - 01/04/2008 : 1:16:17 PM
I shoot moose and bears in the yard with rubber slugs in a shotgun. Sounds cruel but my intent is to deter them so I never have to use the real thing in a dog conflict. I cant imagine bear spray being very effective. I have had moose stand on the trail for quite some time before they decide to yeild to the team. Of course the dogs go crazy the whole time and its all I can do to keep them in one place. I have wished I had the rubber slugs out on the trail (funny mental image of redneck musher with shotgun rack on a dogsled!!)

They manufacture rubber bullets for various caliber of handguns but I have not used them. Thought of keeping the .44 available and if I had a moose blocking me I would have time to load the rubber bullets. If it is a sudden situation of defense of life the real bullets would be loaded already. For those running in areas they cant carry firearms maybe they could practice their aim with a slingshot and bag of marbles?!?!

My encounters with moose have happened only a few ways: I see the moose ahead of time and can react accordingly, or I come up suddenly on one and its over before I realize what happened. Then there have to be the times I never saw or even knew I passed them. I have never been charged. The vast majority of the time I can tell by the dogs something is there out there before I see it.

Just some thoughts.
DJLa Posted - 12/26/2007 : 4:32:31 PM
I have had multiple close encounters with moose including having one jump through my team. Everyone (amazingly) was fine. After that encounter I found a cheap set of bear bells and attached them to the gang line. I still see moose, but ever since I got the bells, every moose has known I was coming and was already headed the other way.

Oh yeah,it is not nearly as intrusive as I thought it would be.

.44's work too.
odaroloc Posted - 12/26/2007 : 2:47:33 PM
Great topic, and timely. Colorado is starting to see more and more moose, usually on trails and we (mushers) don't have much info on what to do around them. So far, the moose seem to get out of the way, but I understand they can become "conditioned" to dog teams and then decide to stand their ground. Then what???

I had considered bear spray until I talked to someone who had to use it on a moose and found out that in cold temps it is about as useful as a handful of snow. It doesn't spray at all.

I did put bells on my dogs harnesses to try to warn other trail users (skiiers and moose) of our presence.
vetbills Posted - 12/25/2007 : 12:37:28 PM
I was charged by a moose twice last year. The thing that struck me both times was how silently they moved through the woods and then were just suddenly standing on the trail. In both cases I stopped and waited to see what was going to happen. Both moose gave me all the tell tale signs they were upset - ears flat, bristles up, pawing and stamping the ground and one made this sound that I can only call a growl.
Both times I was running a 6-dog team. Another musher had told me that a moose will rear up and jump into a team and that my best bet was to let the dogs go and run off to the side and get behind a tree. Of course finding a good tree to hide behind in this part of Alaska can be a bit of a challenge is spots.
In the first case I stood my ground and just as the moment I was going to bail, the moose veered off into the woods. I felt like I was caught unprepared and now when I run I carry a gun with enough firepower to protect myself and the dogs. In the second case the noise of a round going into the chamber was enough to get the moose to move on.
Keep in mind that moose can always be aggressive. The bulls are just more so in the rutting season when they are loaded up with testosterone. A cow moose with a calf can be deadly. They are an animal to be respected.
With our lousy snow this year we haven't seen any moose on the trails as they are able to move with ease around the woods.

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