Driving in Alaska can be dangerous for several reasons—bad roads, snow, ice, and wildlife. Moose, in particular, pose dangers that have the potential to be fatal.
Every year, 600-800 moose lose their lives due to Alaska drivers. Vehicles that collide with moose are seriously damaged and occupants are often injured.
Here’s what you should do if you hit a moose while driving:
Contact the Alaska State Troopers
The first thing you should do after colliding with a moose is to contact the Alaska State Troopers and report the incident. By law, you are required to report any car accident you’re involved in, and more specifically, you must report accidentally striking or killing a moose.
The troopers will either send a wildlife trooper or a patrol trooper to secure the scene, carry out an investigation and if needed, put the moose to rest.
Turn On Your Hazard Lights
While you wait for the troopers to arrive, it’s a good idea to turn on your hazard lights and put out a flare or warning triangle if you have one so that other drivers know to be extra careful around you and your vehicle.
Don’t Shoot the Moose Yourself
It is unlawful to take a moose outside of normal hunting seasons, which means you could potentially be committing a crime if you accidentally kill a moose with your car and then salvage it and take it home.
When you speak with the trooper to report the wreck, if they are unable to arrive at the scene for an extended period of time, they may instruct you to shoot the moose yourself if you have the means to. However, keep in mind that you may only do this if you are specifically instructed by a trooper to do so. Once the moose is no longer alive, the troopers will take care of salvaging the moose and distributing it to someone on the salvage list.
These Tips Apply to More Animals Than Just Moose
The steps will be the same no matter what kind of animal you collide with, whether it be a big game animal, moose, bear, muskox, or sheep. Always be sure to contact the Alaska State Troopers to report the incident and find out how you should proceed with respect to the animal.
- Related: Moose Safety in Alaska