5-time Iditarod champ Dallas Seavey kills, guts moose that was entangled with dog team

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Five-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey shot and gutted a moose that became entangled with his dog team early Monday.

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Race officials said the incident occurred at about 1:43 a.m. local time, less than 24 hours after the annual long-distance sled dog race began in Anchorage, Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

It happened about 14 miles from the checkpoint at Skwentna on the way to Finger Lake, the Iditarod Trail Committee said in a statement Monday afternoon. Seavey told race officials that he was forced to shoot the moose with a handgun in self-defense, according to The Associated Press.

“It was on a downhill. I mean, it fell on my sled, and it was sprawled on the trail,” Seavey said in a short video posted on Iditarod Insider, a subscription-driven media outlet for paying customers. “I gutted it as best I could, but it was ugly.”

Seavey, who turned 37 on Monday, was forced to stop racing and dress the moose under Iditarod’s Rule 34, the Daily News reported. The rule states that if a competitor kills an edible big game animal in defense of life and property, “the musher must gut the animal and report the incident to a race official at the next checkpoint.”

“Following teams must help gut the animal when possible,” the rule continues. “No teams may pass until the animal has been gutted and the musher killing the animal has proceeded.”

Seavey has won the Anchorage-to-Nome race five times, in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2021. That ties him with Rick Swenson for the most victories in the race.

His victory in 2012, when he was 25, made him the youngest musher to win the race.

Seavey is not the first musher to kill a moose during the race.

In 1985, Susan Butcher was leading the Iditarod when she used an ax and parka to stop a moose that was attacking her team, according to the AP. The animal killed two of her dogs and injured 13 others. Another musher killed the moose, but Butcher was forced to drop out of the race, the news organization reported.

Seavey was not the only musher to encounter a moose on Monday. When Jessie Holmes arrived at the first checkpoint, he reported mixing it up with the large animal, the Daily News reported.

“I had to punch a moose in the nose out there,” Holmes said. “Oh my gosh.”

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