Alaska Man Killed By Moose After He Tried To Get Photos Of Calves

An Alaska man was killed by a momma moose Sunday when he got too close trying to photograph her newborn calves. One of Wyoming’s premier moose photographers says he knows firsthand that the huge animals are nothing to mess with.

Mark Heinz

May 23, 20244 min read

Wyoming’s moose are nothing to trifle with, especially female moose with calves to protect.
Wyoming’s moose are nothing to trifle with, especially female moose with calves to protect. (Courtesy Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven)

An enraged female moose killing an Alaska man that got too close to her calves serves as a reminder of just how unpredictable and dangerous the seemingly docile giants can be, Wyoming wildlife photographer Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven said.

And he would know, having himself once been chased up a tree by a protective momma moose. Few people have spent as much time around Wyoming’s moose as Vangoidtsenhoven, they’re one of his favorite critters to photograph.

But he knows to keep his distance, particularly from cow moose watching over their babies.

“I would definitely say that moose cows with one or two calves can be more dangerous and unpredictable than a grizzly bear mom,” he told Cowboy State Daily.

Man Killed In Alaska

Dale Corman, 70, of Homer, Alaska, was killed by a cow moose Sunday, apparently while trying to get close-up photos of her two newborn calves, according to reports.

Corman and another man — whose identity was not released by Alaska officials — were walking through thick brush looking for the moose. They were attacked by the female moose and tried to run away.

The second man escaped unharmed, but told authorities that he didn’t directly witness what happened to Corman. It could not be determined whether Corman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, had been kicked or stomped to death by the moose.

Up A Tree

The encounter is an important reminder for anyone in a state where they could come across moose, like Wyoming.

Vangoidtsenhoven recalled his own frightening experience with a protective mother moose a few years ago.

“It has happened to me personally that I was walking here in Wyoming, not even with my camera, just on a hike, that I stepped out of a dense forest only to see a moose run away,” he said. “After a few seconds, however, the moose turned around and came right at me. That's when I realized I inadvertently spooked a cow moose with a calf nearby.”

The only option he had at that point was going up a tree.

“I crawled halfway up a dead tree and the cow moose ran over and stood next to my tree for 10 minutes staring at me,” Vangoidtsenhoven said.

“I had my bear spray on me, as I always have when hiking in grizzly country, but luckily after about 10 minutes the cow moose left my tree and walked back over to her calf,” he added. “It was quite a scary experience and a firm reminder that you have to be extremely careful when you go for a walk in moose country anytime between May and later in the summer when the calf has grown up a bit.”

Wyoming’s moose are nothing to trifle with, especially female moose with calves to protect.
Wyoming’s moose are nothing to trifle with, especially female moose with calves to protect. (Courtesy Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven)

Nothing To Trifle With

Based on accounts of the fatal attack in Alaska, Vangoidtsenhoven said it serves as a reminder that extreme caution is required when moving through thick brush in moose country.

“This time of the year, taking a hike in or outside the National Park, anywhere in nature where moose live, requires extra caution. Especially when walking in moose habitat, which this time of the year is mostly riparian areas near water, can be quite dangerous because of the dense brush,” he said. “Visibility is often very minimal because of the willows that grow densely around rivers and lakes.

“Obviously, a moose has much better hearing than us, so you could be in a lot of trouble before you even realize that you are getting closer to a cow moose. It appears that the guy who got killed in Alaska was walking through dense brush.”

And even with as much time as he’s spent around moose, Vangoidtsenhoven said he can’t take his personal safety for granted.

“Wild moose appear very docile, they can in fact be quite dangerous,” he said. “So even if I'm out photographing the big bulls in September or October, I always make sure I am near a large object to hide behind like a tree or a car.”

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter