Moose kills Alaska man trying to take picture, family says they don't want animal put down

A wildlife enthusiast and photographer was killed by a cow moose in Alaska. However, the victim's family does not want the animal to be put down.

Dale Chorman, 70, was attacked and killed by a cow moose as he and his friend attempted to photograph the animal and her calves, Homer-based author and journalist Tom Kizzia told Alaska Public Media.

“They were going down to see how close they could get to see if they could get any pictures of these newborn twins, but it was really thick, real dense part of the woods,” Kizzia said, adding that the moose jumped at them "suddenly out of nowhere."

The Alaska Department of Public Safety said State Troopers received a report of the attack in Homer shortly before noon on Sunday.

"The cow moose charged two men, kicking one of them," the department said.

The victim was pronounced deceased by medics who arrived on the scene. The cow moose, however, had left the area since and was not located. The department said that an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Authorities have not yet specified the exact cause of death.

A spokesperson of the office of department safety said Wednesday that the State Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the official cause and manner of death and that their report is not yet complete.

Watch: Rare white moose spotted crossing the road in Alberta, Canada

'She was just protecting her offspring'

A moose crosses a road in Denali National Park, Alaska, on September 20, 2022.
A moose crosses a road in Denali National Park, Alaska, on September 20, 2022.

Despite their tragic loss, Chorman's family does not want the moose to be put down, saying that Chorman was aware of the risks associated with photographing the wild and that the moose was just trying to safeguard her newborns.

Chorman’s son, Nate Spence-Chorman, in a statement to Alaska News Source, said his father was “a loving husband to Dianne, a great father to me and (as you know) a fantastic friend to many."

A builder and carpenter by profession, Chorman loved the outdoors and being around wildlife and photographing them.

“This was not a hapless fool stumbling into danger — this was a person who went out looking for a great photo, knowing the risks, and got caught in a dangerous moment,” Spence-Chorman said, adding that his father died on his own property "tromping through the woods with a dear friend."

"On a given day, nobody expects to die on their own property doing something routine, even when the routine is fairly dangerous. But he would have accepted this outcome," Nate said. "Whether for the cranes, or the calves, this was his favorite time of year. The truth is he died doing what he loved most — or, close to most, as moose have a distinct lack of feathers."

Chorman's son also called for the moose to not be killed.

"The ungulate mother need not die. She was just protecting her offspring," Spence-Chorman said in his statement.

Living with moose in Alaska

About 175,000 to 200,000 moose are widely distributed throughout Alaska, according to Alaska Fish and Game. Though moose are normally not aggressive, the department advises the public to respect the animal's space as they can become dangerous if provoked. It is also illegal and dangerous to feed moose.

"The key to coexisting with moose is to avoid confrontations by giving moose plenty of space," says the department.

The department also warns against interacting with young calves to avoid agitating the mother.

In case a moose charges, the department advises running away or getting behind "something solid".

Adult female moose, also called cow moose, can weigh up to 800 pounds, the department says, while adult males can weigh as much as 1,600 pounds.

Located on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Homer is about 220 miles south of Anchorage.

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X @saman_shafiq7.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Moose kills man in Homer, Alaska trying to photographer her calves