John McCoy is the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette’s award-winning outdoors writer. His "Woods & Waters" page appears weekly in the Sports section of the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
In 32 years of outdoors writing, John has had articles published in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Bowhunter, North American Whitetail, Hatches and other publications. His works have earned more than 50 state, regional and national awards for writing and photography.
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When it comes to protecting offspring, mama grizzlies apparently have nothing on moose mamas — as Alaskans are finding out.
From the Associated Press:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska wildlife biologists are warning about the dangers of moose calving season after several people were injured in the past week by protective cows, including a 6-year-old girl who was stomped by one in her backyard until her father scared it off with a log and a baseball bat.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Jessy Coltrane said cow moose are giving birth now, and people need to be extra careful in and near the woods.
“Cows are dropping calves all over town right now,” Coltrane said. “Those cows are so defensive of their little babies. They will literally stand there on the edge of the woods watching you, and if you take one step into their personal bubble, they’ll come out hooves flying.”
The warning comes after 6-year-old Chloe Metzger was stomped by a moose Monday in her Eagle River backyard. She suffered a broken clavicle and injuries to her back, according to Wednesday’s Anchorage Daily News.
The same day, a moose struck a man outside an Anchorage elementary school, but he was uninjured, police said. Over the weekend, a moose charged and injured at least two mountain bikers on trails at a south Anchorage park.
Chloe Metzger’s mother, Julie, said her daughter and an 11-year-old friend were jumping on a trampoline when they decided to venture toward the woods into some nearby bushes.
They encountered the moose, which chased them back into the yard. The older girl ran and hid in a playhouse with an attached swing set, Julie Metzger said.
“My daughter didn’t make it. I looked out, and she was curled in a ball protecting her head,” she said. “Everybody was screaming.”
The moose stomped on Chloe’s back with its two front hooves until Julie’s husband, Wade, threw a log at it, she said. It stunned the moose long enough that Chloe was also able to run to the playhouse, and Wade Metzger threw a baseball bat at it, Julie Metzger said.
Unfortunately for the girls, the moose ran into the swing set, became tangled and injured the older girl as well, Julie Metzger said. Eventually they were able to scare away the animal and rush Chloe to a hospital, where she had surgery.
The moose was calm when Coltrane and another biologist went to see it Monday after the attack.
Coltrane said moose can be unpredictable this time of year.
Several groups of mountain bikers learned that over the weekend on the trails at Kincaid Park. A couple of them were injured when a moose either attacked or drove the bikers off the trail, she said.
“It was all fast-moving, blind corners and basically running smack into the moose,” Coltrane said. “I would definitely recommend to people to get a new hobby for the next couple weeks.”