Air Force Staff Sergeant Bob Sirvid, 26, had just recently arrived at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson earlier this year and was looking forward to spending some time in the famed Alaskan wilderness. Previously stationed in Iraq, Sirvid was assigned to the 773rd Civil Engineer Squadron in the Anchorage area where his primary job was pest and dangerous animal control. However, according to the Anchorage Daily News Sirvid was more accustomed to capturing rattlesnakes than facing a charging adult moose.
The airman had longed planned on taking a trip to Denali National Park, home to the highest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley. On June 4, he had the chance to accompany good friend Mark Dario, Dario’s wife Becky, and their two kids for a hike on Triple Rivers Trail. It was towards the end of their hike that the party spotted a female moose. From about 75 feet away, Sirvid and the Dario family stayed quiet and hoped the animal would pass by.
“We started backing off and the moose started heading towards us,” Sirvid said. “I turned around to Mark and I said, ‘Mark, head for the trees, if you get struck, play dead.’ I turned around and looked at the moose, and at this time, her head was down, near her shoulders, coming at us. We’re starting to run off into the woods and I looked around one more time, it was really close to us, almost on top of us. I looked back at Mark and he just had a terrified look on his face.”
Sirvid drew a .41 caliber single-action revolver that he had borrowed from a friend and stared the moose down.
“It was the hardest thing for me to do,” he recalled. “I just stood there and I waited till the absolute last second. I couldn’t even believe that I pulled the trigger, to be honest with you — I didn’t want to do it.”
Sirvid dropped the charging moose with one shot. It fell to the ground almost directly in front of him but remained alive and struggling. After making sure nobody was injured, Sirvid brought rangers to the scene who put down the animal.
“We didn’t go out there to shoot a moose,” Sirvid said. “We went out there to view wildlife, to go on some nice hikes.”
After an investigation by the Park Service, Sirvid was found to be justified in the shooting and will not be charged for killing the moose or firing a weapon in a national park. Also, no calves were seen by either Sirvid or the park rangers at the time of the incident.
When Sirvid initially arrived at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson the Air Force gave an introductory course on handling conflicts with wildlife such as moose and bears. Sirvid had no troubles in the past when he encountered moose near the base.
Image courtesy Denali National Park