By Ken Marsh
The cow moose seen above in an image taken today in Anchorage’s Kincaid Park is so pregnant that she appears ready to pop. And, in a way, she is.
Moose in Southcentral Alaska typically calve between now and early June, with the number peaking around May 25. New mothers can be hyper-protective and wise photogs and woods-people don’t mess around with them. They give these critters and their newborns plenty of space.
The best advice is to stay alert in the woods this time of year to avoid accidentally bumping into cows with new calves. In the frightening event you find yourself charged by an 800-pound cow moose, run! Moose aren’t predators like bears so running doesn’t cause predatory instincts to kick in. If anything, running away indicates a healthy respect for those lethal flying front hooves. Try to put a tree or car or something big between you and the moose.
Bear or moose bells don’t necessarily work to frighten off cows with wobbly-legged newborns. Rather than depart, cows this time of year often stand their ground to protect helpless calves. Keep your dogs close – preferably on a leash – as dogs fleeing charging moose have been known to bring raging cows back to their owners. And definitely don’t try to creep in close for a glorious photo of that cute little baby moose.
Avoid confrontations with protective cows from the git-go this spring and early summer, and stay safe. For more information about safety in moose country, see the Alaska Department of Fish and Game webpage at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=livewith.aggressivemoose