Eagle River girl doing okay after moose attack

Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 19:48

A six-year-old Eagle River girl is expected to make a full recovery after a terrifying encounter with a mama moose on Monday, May 28 in Eagle River.

Chloe Metzger, 6, had to have several surgeries on her injured shoulder after being stomped by the angry moose behind her family’s home on Sokolof Circle.

“Her spirits are high,” said Metzger’s mother, Julie, on Thursday, May 31.

Julie Metzger said Chloe and an older girl were jumping on the family’s trampoline when they decided to walk toward the nearby woods.

“The back yard kind of goes up against a greenbelt,” she said.

As they approached the woods, the girls were charged by the moose, which reached Chloe first and began hitting her with its front hooves. Chloe’s dad, Wade Metzger, threw a piece of wood at the moose to distract the moose, which gave Chloe enough time to escape to the nearby swing set where her friend had taken refuge.

But the attack wasn’t quite over. Julie said the moose turned its attention to her husband, who threw another object at it. At that point, the moose fled — directly into the playground equipment where the girls were hiding.

“That’s when it ran into the swing set,” Julie recalled.

Eventually, the moose was able to untangle itself from the equipment, and Wade Metzger freed the girls from the collapsed equipment.

The older girl was shaken up but otherwise okay, but Chloe was bleeding badly from the attack. 

“We got her to the deck and immediately started wrapping stuff around her arm,” Julie said.

Paramedics rushed the 6-year-old to Providence Hospital, where she underwent surgery on her shoulder. Julie Metzger said Chloe — who recently finished kindergarten at Alpenglow Elementary — was well enough to be out of the hospital Thursday, but would need to return the next day for one more surgery. Her collar bone is broken, and her arm will remain in a sling for some time, her mother said. But all in, all, the family is counting itself lucky.

“We’re happy,” Julie said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Fish and Game officials are warning residents to be extremely cautious around moose calves this time of year. ADFG area management biologist Jessy Coltrane said most moose in the area gave birth to calves in the past 10 days.

“Cows are defensive so it’s a relatively dangerous time of year,” Coltrane said.

Julie Metzger said her family has lived in their house for six years and has frequently seen moose in the area. She doesn’t blame the animal that attacked her daughter for doing what it did.

“The moose was doing its job protecting the baby,” she said.

However, Metzger said she plans to do the same thing in her own back yard.

“I’m going to be pretty adamant about not letting them think this is their home,” she said.

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