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Hunter kills charging moose in self-defense

| November 18, 2004 11:00 PM

By Roger Morris Western News Publisher

A Pennsylvania man shot and killed a moose in self defense earlier this week.

The man was walking along a gated road elk hunting when the moose charged out of the nearby brush, said game warden Chris Ralph of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The man had time to raise his rifle and fire from two feet away, Ralph said. He had ejected the cartridge and then ³short-stroked² the action attempting to fire a second shot in a hurry. The rifle firing pin clicked on an empty chamber.

Fortunately the moose dropped at the man¹s feet, the game warden said.

The man was ³quite shaken² by the incident, Ralph said.

³He was still upset when I talked to him at 9 p.m. that night,² Ralph said.

It was obvious there was something wrong with the moose, which had already shed it¹s antlers and was shedding hair, too.

On recommendation of the veterinarian, the carcass was disposed of at the dump, Ralph said. The Pennsylvania hunter cut his hunting trip short and went home.

Last week, Ralph responded to a call of a bull moose killed and left behind a gate in the Big Hoodoo area off Bear Creek.

He estimates the moose was killed on Friday or Saturday, Nov. 12 or 13. There were tire tracks near the scene where a vehicle had turned around, Ralph said.

The mature bull was left where it was shot.

A couple of elk hunters discovered the carcass but it was too late for the meat to be recovered for the local Food Pantry.

³It could have been a hunter mistaking it for an elk,² Ralph said.

The game warden is looking for information leading to the identity of the hunter. People with any information can contact Ralph at home, 293-7647, or at his office, 293-4161. They can remain anonymous by calling the TipMont program at 1-800-TipMont.

Other than the moose shootings, Ralph said one of the biggest problems of the hunting season has been people ³popping locks² off gates, especially to Plum Creek lands.

³It¹s been pretty bad,² Ralph said. ³Plum Creek is tearing their hair out about it.²

Plum Creek, in an agreement with FWP, allows hunter access to their private timber lands in northwest Montana.