Mother Moose Kills Nature-Loving Alaska Man Attempting to Take Photos of Her Newborn Calves

Dale Chorman
Dale Chorman (left) and an image of a cow moose with two newborn calves (For representational purposes only). Twitter

A Homer, Alaska, man was killed by a cow moose on Sunday, May 19, while trying to photograph the animal and its two newborn calves, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Dale Chorman, 70, was walking with a friend through brush about 100 yards from his home when they were charged just before noon on Sunday, troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel said in a statement obtained by Anchorage Daily News. The men were looking for the moose to take photos, he said.

Chorman was Declared Dead on the Scene After Being Kicked by the Moose

When the men saw the animal, they both turned around and began to run, McDaniel said. The other man turned around and saw Chorman on the ground with the moose standing over him, he said.

Troopers on Sunday said the moose charged both men and kicked Chorman. McDaniel on Monday said Chorman was injured during the attack but the state medical examiner will determine his cause of death. The moose and calves left the area after the attack. Medics declared Chorman dead at the scene, troopers said.

Dale Described as a Naturalist, Loved Talking Photos of Nature

Chorman, a carpenter/builder who also was a naturalist and bear guide, lived in Homer for decades. His son, Nathan Spence-Chorman, wrote on social media:

"Dale died on his property, tromping through the woods with a dear friend, in pursuit of a great photograph. This was his favorite thing to do. ... Dale was highly experienced around wildlife. He was intimately familiar with nature, and had no naivete about its danger. This was not a hapless fool stumbling into danger — this was a person who went out looking for a great photo, knowing the risks, and got caught in a dangerous moment.

"The moose, obviously, is not at fault," his son wrote. "The ungulate mother need not die. She was just protecting her offspring. Dale had remarked the previous day that the brush was particularly thick this year — thick enough to get closer than intended, and surprise a wild animal by accident."

Cow Moose Are Known to Be More Aggressive Against Any Threat When They are Around Their Young Calves

Cow moose are more likely to become aggressive toward people during late spring and summer when they have young calves.

"Cow moose will relentlessly defend their calves from any perceived threat," McDaniel said. "That's what we believe occurred here in this instance. We would definitely encourage folks to give cow moose, especially ones with calves, a lot of extra space."

Wildlife troopers from Anchor Point responded to the scene. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is working with troopers to review the incident and determine whether the cow moose poses a public safety risk, McDaniel said.

As reported by Anchorage Daily News, Deep snow over the winter also probably played a role in several run-ins with moose within the past six months, wildlife officials have said. Two people in Mat-Su were injured in separate encounters earlier this year, one in Butte and one in Willow. A man walking his dog on the Kenai Peninsula was injured in late December when a moose charged him on a popular Soldotna trail system.