A Houston man who kicked a moose Thursday morning received minor injuries and a major lesson in how not to treat wildlife, authorities say.
The man, who was not identified, encountered a cow with a calf at his home on Armstrong Road, according to Alaska State Troopers and the Houston Fire Department.
Wildlife officials say this time of year makes for unpredictable moose tired from a long winter and often protective about their young.
"The guy apparently walked up to the cow and kicked it because he wanted it to move out of his way," troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said in an email. "I am also not a moose mind reader … but I am fairly certain the cow did not like this as it kicked back and then left with its calf in tow."
It's unclear whether he was kicked or stomped.
The man wasn't badly hurt but his foot was injured, said Ken Barkley, fire deputy director for the Mat-Su emergency services department.
"The guy's foot got stepped on by a moose," Barkley said.
Two Houston firefighters responded to make sure the scene was safe, Houston Chief Christian Hartley said. A borough ambulance responded, but Barkley said he didn't know if the man was transported to the hospital.
The cow and calf were gone by the time Alaska Wildlife Troopers arrived in case there was still an aggressive moose nearby, Peters said.
"Based on what the trooper was told, this is not the case of an aggressive moose," she said. "The moose was provoked."
The incident follows two high-profile moose encounters in recent months in Anchorage, including a video making the social media rounds that showed a man who got kicked while he was feeding moose in Muldoon late last month, according to Ken Marsh, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In another incident, surveillance cameras caught a dog attacked by a moose in Midtown in February.
The end of a long winter is a tricky time for moose, Marsh said. They're worn out and nutritionally stressed — maybe a little grumpy.
The common denominator between the Muldoon incident and the Houston one is "people getting too close to the moose, to the point they're touching them," he said. "My understanding is the fella may actually have kicked the moose. You just don't do that. You need to give wildlife their space."