Reese Hanneman was running at Kincaid Park in Anchorage on Monday morning when he came across a bull moose that seemed very interested in a goal on a soccer field.
At first Hanneman thought the moose was banging its antlers on the goalpost to scrape off its itchy velvet.
"I was like, 'Man, he's really going at it,' " Hanneman said. As he approached, Hanneman realized the moose was tangled in the net.
He filmed a short video, which shows the moose pushing the goal forward. Hanneman said that as he watched, the moose continued to push, moving the goal in a full circle.
Every year from late September to mid-October, when bull moose are rutting, Alaska biologists have to help a couple of them get untangled, said Cory Stantorf, assistant area biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Sometimes they get stuck in swing sets or hammocks. Other times they get wrapped up in Christmas lights. On Monday, it was the soccer net.
Stantorf was one of the people who responded.
"The moose had destroyed the net frame and he wasn't getting out of there by himself," Stantorf said.
When a moose is tangled that badly, biologists tranquilize it, quickly remove whatever the animal is tangled in, and then inject the moose again to reverse the tranquilizer.
The whole process – from when the moose goes down to when it gets back on its feet, freed and groggy – takes about 20 minutes, Stantorf said.
"The faster the better," Stantorf said.
During rutting season, bull moose are interested in only one thing: finding and defending females, Stantorf said.
Bulls spar with one another. And sometimes they just start messing with objects — they'll push at a swing set and it will come back at them, so they'll push at it again. Before long, they're tangled, Stantorf said.
"They have a one-track mind during the rut," Stantorf said.
By the time Hanneman came back around Monday, at the end of his run, the moose was free and hanging around near the goal, eating some foliage.