The Norwegian moose is normally rather shy, but a woman in Northern Norway had a close call with a fully grown male that was nothing short of an attack — spurred, perhaps, by a deformity that clearly plagued him.
Ann Elene Johansen from Kvaløya, outside Tromsø, told her story to newspaper Nordlys on Tuesday, and it didn’t take long before Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) sent it nationwide.
The drama started when Johansen and her father Asbjørn got a call from local police, who said they’d received reports of an injured moose seen limping along a road at Ringvassøya. Both father and daughter are experienced hunters and part of a group that gets called out to look for injured animals, and destroy them if necessary.
They drove to the scene and Johansen headed into the woods to localize the moose, while her father scouted for it along the road.
“Suddenly there’s the moose (called elg in Norwegian), maybe 20 to 30 meters away from me,” she told NRK. “I tried to approach to see the extent of its injuries.”
But at a distance of only around 10 meters, the moose flattened its ears, its fur stood on end “and I ran for a tree and climbed right up the trunk. I yelled for help.” She avoided being attacked in the moose’s subsequent charge by seconds.
Her father eventually heard her yelling, the moose retreated, he arrived on the scene and she climbed down from the tree. But then the moose attacked again, in an unusual fit of aggression.
“That time my father managed to shoot the moose at close range,” Johansen told NRK.
It turned out the moose hadn’t been injured, but suffered from physical deformity that he probably was born with. Pain could have made him aggressive, and he was in addition emaciated. Winter is a difficult season for moose when snow covers their food sources.
Johansen and her father are just glad they survived the attack. “Moose who do go on the attack can be extremely dangerous for people, and we were shaken, both of us,” she said.
(For more items on the Norwegian moose, see our Moose News feature.)