Skier shoots charging moose

Posted: Sunday, March 21, 2004

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man shot a moose trotting toward him on the city's coastal trail, a year after he was stomped and seriously injured by another moose.

Michael Vogel's decision to shoot a moose in a heavily used park was criticized by a state wildlife biologist, who said pepper spray would have been sufficient. Fish and Game biologist Rick Sinnott had to kill the injured moose with a shotgun near the trail in Kincaid Park.

Vogel, a 47-year-old chemist, said he began carrying a gun on his daily runs or skis after a moose charged him on the coastal trail last year, temporarily blinding him and breaking several bones.

The moose shot Wednesday night had been collared last winter, and she spent most of her time in Kincaid, Sinnott said.

"We approached her many times," he told the Anchorage Daily News. "She was a reliably calm moose."

Sinnott said if Vogel saw the moose 25 yards ahead, he had plenty of room to ski off trail around her. The presence of Vogel's dog probably complicated matters, Sinnott said.

Vogel said there was no time and nowhere to go.

Vogel saw the moose bedded down on the trail about 30 yards away. He stopped and put his Chesapeake Bay retriever on heel at his side, he said.

The moose stood up and initially started to walk away. But it changed its mind, turned and began trotting toward him, Vogel said.

"Then it pinned its ears back, lowered its head and commenced to charge," he said.

The snow off to the side was too soft to ski on, he said, so he couldn't get off the trail. "When the moose was about seven yards away, I shot," Vogel said. "Things are happening fast. I fired a second time."

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