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SURVIVE THIS! by josh pi v en Take Charge How to respond when a moose goes on the offensive.


compete with one another for mates in dominance displays, complete with vocalizing, charging and violently smashing antlers. Keep in mind that moose have fairly poor eyesight. Granted, this doesn’t mean you’ll be mistaken for a potential mate, but it does mean you might see the moose before it sees you. (Moose do have acute senses of smell and hearing, however.) Be on the lookout for the telltale


signs of aggression. A disturbed moose preparing to attack might


point its ears back (like a dog) and might raise the hair on its back (like a cat). It might also lick its lips repeat- edly. Oſten, a moose will bluff charge, running forward and then stopping, then running forward and stopping again. If you notice any of these behaviors, you should be prepared for an attack. Despite their enormous bulk —


EMERGENCY SITUATION: You’re hiking in early fall at Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve. As you wander out of a stand of conifers, you notice a very large moose nearby. It stops what it’s doing — eating, probably — and turns toward you. You slowly back away. It walks toward you. You back up even more. It gets closer. Then the moose begins to vocalize loudly. You’re either a potential mate … or dessert. What should you do?


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Solution: THE GOOD NEWS IS that moose are typi- cally nonaggressive, solitary animals, so you won’t be facing a wild moose pack. The bad news is that when they


are aggressive, it’s typically during rutting (mating) season — which just so happens to be in early fall. Moose might also become aggressive when hungry, tired or — stop me if you’ve heard this before — continually harassed by people. (A severe infection called brainworm also affects North American moose and might make them less fearful of humans and there- fore more likely to attack.) Male moose, called bulls, are


typically much more aggressive than females, called cows, and oſten


a bull might be 7 feet tall and easily exceed 1,000 pounds — moose can attain impressive speeds: up to 35 miles per hour for short bursts when running. They are also excellent swimmers, so don’t bother diving into a nearby river. What about running through snow to escape? Another bad idea. Snow must be at least 40 inches deep before it can hinder an adult moose’s progress. The good news is that, for the


most part, a moose is lazy. Mostly, it eats. What’s more, despite their mass, moose are herbivores, making them prey, not predators. Experts say that


FIND MORE SURVIVAL advice at scoutingmagazine.org/survivethis.


YUTA ONODA


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