The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: That Moose is as Big as My Van!

The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: That Moose is as Big as My Van!


I woke up this morning to a god-awful howl from Shifter. I ran downstairs to see a female moose in the back happily munching away on the grass. She had to the better part of seven feet and was taller than the back slope of the roof on my kennel building.


This is the first moose I have seen in the yard and she is a big one!


Contrary to popular belief, moose are not cute and cuddly as the make them out to be in retail. These behemoths have been known to charge people and trampled sled dog teams.


The greatest woman dog musher the sport has ever known, Susan Butcher:


“A less common danger, but nonetheless very serious, is the moose. The wolves are simply curious. They never cause us any problems. The bears, except for the polar bears, are in hibernation, and most of the polar bears are much further north than where we race. So the only danger for us really is the moose and the buffalo. But we only run through one herd of buffalo on the way to Nome. The moose generally run away from a dog team but occasionally they will somehow feel entrapped, and they feel they have to run toward you, and in essence, through the dog team. That has probably happened to me three or four times. No serious injuries to the dogs, none to me. Only minor injuries.

Susan Butcher


In 1985, I was traveling alone at night in the lead of the race and ran into an obviously crazed moose. She was starving to death. There was something wrong with her. She was just skin and bones. And rather than run away, she turned to charge the team. I thought she would just run through me. I stopped the team, threw the sled over. She had plenty of room to pass us along the trail. She came into the team and stopped. She just started stomping and kicking the dogs. She charged at me. for twenty minutes, I held her off with my ax and with my parka, waving it in her face. And finally, another musher came along and we shot her, but not before she had killed two of my dogs, and she injured thirteen others, leaving me to scratch from the race. She bruised my shoulder. We spent the next two weeks at a veterinary hospital, saving the lives of the injured dogs.”


Needless to say, I need to build a fence…




I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.


Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Doctor Radio | Denver Dog Works



Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and The Dog Doctor Radio Show


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About robertforto

Robert Forto is the owner of Dog Works Training Company in Alaska, a canine behaviorist, mushin' down a dream, sports nut and radio show host. Robert writes a lot about his observations in Alaska, pop culture, music, and of course dogs!

View all posts by robertforto

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3 Comments on “The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: That Moose is as Big as My Van!”

  1. dave scheer Says:

    Make sure it’s a tall fence and have a way to get them out when they jump in !


  2. Michele Forto Says:

    yes! we need to build a fence.


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