ANCHORAGE - Alaska Wildlife Troopers rescued two Ohio men after the pair interrupted a life-or-death struggle between a moose and a wolf.
Sean Evans, 31, of Toronto, Ohio, and his cousin, Josh Clark, 30, of Scio, were snowshoeing out to a cabin on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage on Thursday when they rounded a bend in the trail, ducked under a fallen tree and saw the spectacle crashing toward them from about 20 feet away.
"The wolf had torn off some skin from the moose's neck and was hanging on its neck," Clark told the Anchorage Daily News. "We kind of looked at each other for three seconds and decided to start moving."
The wolf took off when it saw the pair, but the moose charged them. They dropped their packs. Clark climbed a birch tree while his cousin got behind the fallen log.
They couldn't spook the moose, even when they yelled and threw things at it, he said.
"Anytime one of us moved, it kind of charged and paused," Clark said. "I was in the tree. I didn't care. So anytime (Evans) would start making noises, I would try to sort of distract it, because I felt pretty safe."
Eventually, they decided the snorting moose wasn't leaving. Troopers say they got a cell phone call Thursday afternoon reporting the men were trapped by the moose along Crescent Creek Trail.
The men had rented the cabin at Crescent Lake, which is about 7 ½ miles into the trail, but they were only about two miles up the trail when they were pinned, Chugach National Forest spokeswoman Mona Spargo said.
Two troopers and a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer reached them about four hours after the ordeal began. They saw the moose standing at the base of the tree with Clark in it, said wildlife trooper Kenneth Acton, who was among the officers.
The moose refused to budge, even after a few warning shots, he said.
"They were totally blocked. The moose isn't going anywhere," Acton said. "They'd been hiking and snowshoeing in, so they didn't have all of their cold-weather gear on because of perspiration and all that, and now one's been up in the tree for four hours. I mean, he was visibly shaking, I think not only from adrenaline but from the elements as well."
For the men's safety, troopers decided to kill the moose. They shot it with a rifle, cleaned it and took a shoulder and a hindquarter. A charity got the rest Friday, Acton said.
The men were uninjured in the ordeal.