Attacked by a moose and knocked unconscious.
After several days in the hospital, a 6-year-old boy is back home on the road to recovery from injuries he suffered during a terrifying experience two weeks ago.
Michael Barnes is taking a break from school until his head injuries fully recover, but his encounter with a moose did not bring down his spirits.
In fact, he’s looking at the positive and enjoying his new helmet, which he has to wear for about six months until his skull heals.
“This is still here,” said Michael as he points to his scar on his head. “My bones are healing still, my helmet still has to be on until fall.”
His mother, Elizabeth, said the moose kicked Michael in the head when he got off of the school bus by his home on the hillside. She said it resulted in a skull fracture and surgery to take out pieces of bone that landed in his brain.
“For the first few days, it was hour-to-hour not knowing what was happening,” said Elizabeth Barnes. “And as he was getting better it was day-to -day to see how he's going to be and awake.”
Two weeks later, it's hard for Michael to hide how he feels to be back home.
“Happy, because I wanted to see my lego’s that's why,” he said.
Michael's mom says once his injuries heal, he'll return to school this fall just in time for first grade.
Neighbors believe an unleashed dog spooked the moose that attacked Michael.
The Department of Fish and Game wants to remind everyone to keep dogs on a leash, and here are some other tips provided by Fish and Game:
Do not approach a moose.
Moose - especially cows with calves - can be aggressive and need plenty of room.
Pay attention to moose body language:
A moose that has stopped feeding, walking or resting, has its ears up and is looking at you, has noticed you and is curious.
A stressed moose has its ears back, the hair on its neck raised, and it may even lick its lips. This moose may charge you!
Give a curious or stressed moose room by retreating from the area quickly.
If a moose charges or chases you:
Hide behind something solid such as a tree.
It’s okay to run away if you have a head start.
If a moose knocks you down:
Curl into a ball, protect your head, and lie still until the moose retreats.
Keep dogs under control at all times in moose country.
When a dog chases or aggravates a moose, it creates a dangerous situation for both of you!
Do not feed moose.
It is both dangerous and illegal.
Enjoy watching moose from a safe distance!
Learn more about moose at:www.wildlife.alaska.gov
Moose Safety Tips for Children
• With young children, keep them near at all times so they don’t walk or run ahead and come across a moose. Remind older children to be on the lookout for moose.
• When hiking, skiing or recreating in moose country, make a “family sandwich” with adults on both ends and kids in the middle. This is a good safety point for bears too.
• Talk to your children about wildlife safety from an early age. Make it part of your family discussions about safety. Be age appropriate. Let children know this is a serious topic.
• Brush up on your wildlife safety knowledge every year, and continue to learn. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game website has a wealth of information on “Living with Wildlife” in Alaska.
• If you live in an area with frequent sightings of bears, wolves or moose, it is appropriate for you to accompany your children to the bus stop or on their walk to and from school.
• Practice observation skills. Be aware of wildlife signs. Be aware, unplug!
• Always observe a safe distance from wild animals. Many people forget about this when it comes to moose in particular. Never approach a wild animal, even if the animal doesn’t appear to be aggressive.
• If a moose is blocking your way, never try to get the moose to move. Leave the moose alone and make a wide detour around the moose. Or go back the way you came and find a different route.
• Help children understand that it is appropriate to run from a moose, but never from a bear. If charged by a moose, you should walk quickly or run and find something to hide behind, even a small tree. Keep something between yourself and the moose.