Iditarod 2024 musher Dallas Seavey kills moose in latest twist to dog sled race

Skwentna, Alaska - Five-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey had to kill a moose after it injured his dog teams shortly after the start of the famous dog sled race.

Musher Dallas Seavey (c.) had to kill a moose that clashed with his team shortly after the start of the 2024 Iditarod.
Musher Dallas Seavey (c.) had to kill a moose that clashed with his team shortly after the start of the 2024 Iditarod.  © screenshot/Facebook/DallasSeavey

The lead-up to the 2024 Iditarod was already dramatic enough, with musher disqualifications and withdrawls, and so far the event itself is proving equally suspenseful.

The 1,000-mile race through the Alaskan wilderness to Nome began Sunday.

Early Monday morning, musher Dallas Seavey informed race officials he had to shoot and kill a moose in self-defense.

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Seavey and his team were 14 miles outside the Skwentna checkpoint on their way to the Finger Lake checkpoint, per the race's press release, when a "moose became entangled with the dogs and the musher on the trail."

After the encounter, the 37-year-old continued to the Finger Lake checkpoint. There, he had to drop one dog injured during the moose encounter. The pooch was immediately flown to Anchorage, where veterinarians are evaluating it.

"With help from snowmobile-aided support in the area, we are making sure that every attempt is made to utilize and salvage the moose meat," said Race marshal Warren Palfrey in a statement, adding that he'd continue to gather information about the encounter.

Mushers must gut animals killed during the race

Dallas Seavey with his dogs after the 2021 Iditarod dog sled race.
Dallas Seavey with his dogs after the 2021 Iditarod dog sled race.  © screenshot/Facebook/DallasSeavey

Per Iditarod race rule number 34, if a large animal like a "moose, caribou, buffalo, is killed in defense of life or property, the musher must gut the animal and report the incident to a race official at the next checkpoint."

The following mushers must also stop and help gut the animal when possible.

In 1985 the late Susan Butcher was leading the race when she had to fend off a moose with an ax, as the Associated Press reported. The moose killed two of her dogs and injured the rest of her team, before another musher came along and killed it, but she still had to withdraw.

As far as rule 34 is concerned, AP cited Seavey telling an Iditarod Insider TV crew that he "gutted [the moose] the best I could, but it was ugly."

Cover photo: screenshot/Facebook/DallasSeavey

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