An Eagle River man will not be charged with any crimes after shooting a moose in Denali National Park. On the evening of Thursday, June 6, Robert Sirvid of Eagle River reported that he had shot a moose near the Denali Visitor Center in Denali National Park. Sirvid and his family were walking the Morino Trail when they unexpectedly encountered a cow moose after turning a corner. He claimed the moose then charged his group and continued to charge after they took cover behind a tree. As the moose neared, he shot the animal with a .41 caliber handgun he was carrying. The shot did not kill the moose, and responding rangers found and dispatched the wounded animal. According to a Park Service press release, Sirvid was visibly upset when he reported the incident to Park staff.
Carrying a firearm inside the boundaries of the original McKinley National Park was made legal in 2010, but the discharging of a weapon on the property is prohibited. Alaska law provides that shooting an animal in a case that is in Defense of Life or Property is permissible. Kris Fister, spokesperson for Denali National Park, says that in cases where there is no federal statute that the park acts according to state law. She says that the investigation conducted by the National Park Service has determined that Sirvid’s shooting of the moose was justifiable under the Defense of Life and Property law.
When the moose was examined by rangers, it was clear that the moose was lactating, and likely had calves in the area. Fister says that, under normal circumstances, that nature would be allowed to take its course, and the calves would likely not survive. Two factors make this situation different, however. First is the fact that the mother was not killed by natural causes. Second is the risk of the calves being killed by a bear or other predator. If a predator were to make a kill in close proximity to the Visitor Center, it might serve to entice them to continue coming to the area. Park rangers have obtained equipment for the capture and immediate care of the calves, but have not yet been able to locate them. If the calves are located, they will be transferred to a facility where they can be cared for.