“It takes more than that to kill a bull moose,” Teddy Roosevelt once quipped … or maybe it doesn’t. The story of the two bull moose found dead with their antlers locked together in Fish Creek near Wilson, Wyoming, is a poignant reminder of the powerful and sometimes perilous interactions that occur in the natural world.
It took removal crews nearly two hours to pull the moose from each other and the water. At one point workers had to borrow a skidsteer from a nearby landowner to secure the removal, according to Jackson Hole News&Guide. This event occurred during the rut season when male moose become more aggressive and competitive with each other in hopes of finding a mate.
It’s likely these two fought each other, possibly over a female, locked antlers in the creek, fell over and drowned.
These incidents are not uncommon. In 2017, two white-tail bucks were discovered dead with antlers locked after having fought to the death, USA Today reported.
Bison are known to be particularly formidable combatants during their rut, which occurs in the summer months. Bison, which can weigh a metric ton and tower over your average man, are known to charge at each other at full speed and ram heads. They are even known to obstruct traffic, blocking the roads at Yellowstone National Park during their summer scuffles.
These brawling bison can be seen going toe to toe, or perhaps it is hoof to hoof as curious onlookers stand nearby, cameras in hand. If the image of shutterbugs standing too close to animals in combat makes your stomach turn, good. Your instincts are well-tuned.
@jenna_baloo End the generation of #tourons #yellowstonenationalpark ♬ original sound – Jenna Baloo
Even young children know better. One boy recently described the propensity of some tourists to approach bison at Yellowstone in a funny and succinct manner. Tourists get too close to a herd crossing the road “because they’re stupid,” the youngster said in a TikTok post.
Even powerful creatures not struck by conflict with their own species can be dangerous. Elk, for instance, have been known to charge and trample those who seek to help them in their hunt for food. An Arizona woman was recently trampled to death in her backyard outside of Kingman while attempting to feed corn to an elk, according to ABC News.
In another, less tragic tale, an Ohio woman was charged by a wild deer, taking a hoof to the ear, after completing a 5K race in October 2022. Ultimately, the woman was shaken but only suffered a few minor injuries.
Sometimes the competition between species in America produces legends of gravitas and heroism. Many may remember the viral video of the cigar-smoking man who charged into alligator-infested waters to save his puppy, all without dropping his stogie.
Others may remember the man who repelled a black bear from a home in Florida. The man used only his bare hands and a bench to defend himself and his pet dachshund.
Not far from Fish Creek, another moose had a brush with death, albeit with a better outcome because of human intervention. In January, a calf moose plunged through the ice into frigid water and was at risk of drowning.
In this case, the calf survived, thanks to the intervention of authorities and human concern for one of God’s creatures.
This duality, the constant interplay between life and death, nature and civilization, is a stark reminder of the grandness of the outdoors in America. Americans are blessed to live in a unique land where the majesty of nature is so accessible.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.