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Moose wading 

Moose in Alaska

Visitors to Alaska are more likely to see moose than any other big game. They may be seen from the highway on a drive between Anchorage and Seward or Anchorage and Denali National Park.

Moose closeupHundreds of them are to be found within the Anchorage city limits, especially during the winter when city yards and greenbelts offer better forage than can be found on the snowcovered mountain slopes. Moose are also safer in the city from grizzly bears, though an occasional grizzly bear has been known to wander into town, too.

The bull moose at right was photographed while resting in a yard just a few blocks from downtown Anchorage. The cow moose above was photographed from an observation platform overlooking a pond at the Eagle River Nature Center, a dozen miles from Anchorage.

Moose may be encountered almost anywhere, at any time, but the best time to look for moose in their favored urban haunts such as Kincaid Park or Campbell Airstrip Road in Anchorage is around dusk.

They may also be encountered, unexpectedly, by hikers or bicyclers using the city's extensive trail system or cross-country skiing in a city park. Motorists should be watchful for moose on the highway.

Other good places to watch for moose, especially in the winter, include the Palmer hay flats and the meadows near Portage.

Moose are among the wildlife attractions at Denali National Park, though they are not as common a sight there as are caribou.

Moose are dangerous

Colliding with a moose on the highway can be fatal for both moose and motorist, but a close encounter on foot can be fatal, too.

A pedestrian on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus was attacked and killed by a cow moose a few years ago when he walked between it and its calf.

Cow moose often are accompanied by one or two calves and it is extremely dangerous to get between them. If you encounter one moose, look around to see if others are nearby.

Moose usually ignore people who keep a respectful distance, but they could charge, and an attack could cause serious injury or death.

Photographers are advised to use long lenses and/or have an escape route in mind. If a moose stops feeding, if its ears perk up, if it seems nervous, it's time to back off.

Don't get close to a moose just because other people are; they may not know any better.

If you encounter a freshly killed moose carcass on or near a path, move away from it as quickly as possible. There's a strong possibility that a grizzly bear is nearby.