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Moose that knocked down man in Willow shot by troopers

Feb. 12—PALMER — Alaska State Troopers said they shot and killed an aggressive moose that knocked down a man early Sunday in Willow.

The moose charged the man after a warning shot was fired from a firearm in an attempt to scare the moose away, according to troopers.

The moose continued to act aggressively when encountered by troopers in front of the man's residence, and it was shot and killed, they said. A charity was called to salvage the meat.

The man was evaluated for injuries at the scene and declined treatment, troopers said.

Sunday's moose attack and subsequent shooting is the second in the Mat-Su this month, according to troopers. A young bull moose was shot and killed by Alaska Wildlife Troopers Feb. 7 after it trampled a teenage girl as she prepared to go to school. She was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released.

Chris Brockman, a state Department of Fish and Game biologist for the Palmer area, said his office has so far received nine reports of aggressive moose in the region this year, while about 30 have been reported in Anchorage, officials there said.

Moose may be especially cantankerous this year due to the region's record snowfall, which makes it extra difficult for them to travel and find food, said Cory Stantorf, a Fish and Game biologist for the Anchorage area.

His office has also received multiple recent reports of individuals feeding moose, which only makes the problem worse because it can make them sick and even more aggressive, he said.

"It trains the moose to associate people with food," he said. "And when moose come up to the next person without a handout, they get really aggressive and can seriously hurt or kill somebody."

Intentionally feeding wildlife, including moose, is against state law and can result in jail time. Unintentionally feeding wildlife carries a $300 fine.

Because of extreme hunger, moose during late winter typically don't react to humans the way they do in the summer, Stantorf said. That means actions like the warning shot fired by the homeowner in Willow are likely to make them more aggressive rather than scare them away. Instead, it's best to keep your distance and, if approached, move behind a solid barricade, he said.

"It's not worth the risk of trying to push them or startle them off," he said. "The best relationship with a moose is a long-distance one."