While Kobuk Valley National Park is best known for its caribou, moose also make the park their home. While seeing a moose in the wild can be exciting, it’s important to remember that moose are still wild animals. They aren’t normally aggressive, but they will defend themselves if they perceive a threat. If people don't consider moose as potentially dangerous, they may approach too closely and put themselves at risk.
Give moose plenty of room!
Always view moose from a distance. Cow moose are extremely defensive of their young so use extra caution around cows with calves.
In the summer months, moose can blend in with their environment and be surprisingly hard to see for such large animals. They are likely to stand their ground even when they hear people approaching. Pay close attention to your surroundings, especially in prime moose habitat such as willow thickets or around streams and ponds.
If you do stumble upon a moose:
Watch for signs that the moose is upset.
If the moose’s ears are laid back and the long hairs on its hump are raised, it’s likely to charge. Most of the time, a moose’s charge is a 'bluff', or warning for you to get back - a warning you should take very seriously! Once a moose bluff charges, it is already agitated.
Unlike with bears, it is okay to run from a moose.
If a moose charges, run away. They usually won't chase you and if they do, they’re unlikely to chase you very far. If you can’t run, get behind something solid such a tree. If a moose knocks you down, curl up in a ball, protect your head with your arms and keep still. Fighting back will only convince the moose that you may still be a threat. Only move once the moose has backed off to a safe distance or it may renew its attack.
Help keep both yourself and the moose safe by being respectful of their space and habitat.
For more information, check out the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s moose safety page. They have tons of great information about how to stay safe around moose and a video about aggressive moose.
Last updated: July 20, 2020