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VIDEO: You mess with the moose, you get the hooves

Sean Doogan

When you are a contract worker tagging baby moose for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, it might be helpful to learn some ju-jitsu, or moose-jitsu. Wes Livingston had to employ the latter as he found himself on his back, trying to fend off an angry moose calf he had just released as part of his work on a five-year study of the movement of cow moose and their young calves. When Livingston untied the animal, the calf immediately turned on him and began hitting him with its hooves. Livingston filmed the attack. After fighting the animal off with his legs, Livingston can be heard to say, "First time I ever got beat up by a baby moose."

Using nets fired from helicopters, biologists and contract workers in Maine are trying to determine, among other things, why the western part of the state has a lower cow-to-calf ratio than other areas of Maine. The collars placed on the captured moose are expected to transmit the animals' location twice a day for four years. The collars can also tell biologists when a moose dies so they can get to the carcass and conduct a necropsy within 24 hours. The study represents only the second time Maine moose have been collared for study. In the 1980's Maine collared the ungulates to determine their range within the state.

As Australia's 9News muses, Livingston seems not to have suffered major injuries from attack, at least based on the video. That was also apparently true of a woman in British Columbia who was the victim of a moose kick recently, too. In the latter case, the women was walking down the street when an adult moose decided to attack, landing what looks to be a vicious kick to the woman's head just before the video cuts out.

"I usually had to worry about the moms, but a calf this time of year weighs 200 or 300 pounds and it can be more than a match for somebody," noted Alaska Dispatch outdoors columnist Rick Sinnott, a former Anchorage-area biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  "I've seen calves attack each other like this, especially when strange calves are put together in a zoo.  Interesting to note that is exactly how an adult moose might have reacted to a person being too close. Moose attacks on people are almost always defensive in nature."