dallas seavey penalized for moose gutting
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Iditarod Champion Receives Penalty for Improperly Gutting the Moose That Attacked His Dogs

"It was ugly."

Five-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey had a chaotic first few days on the trail during the 2024 Iditarod. After an aggressive moose began attacking his dog team, he was forced to kill the animal. The dead moose fell on his sled, and Seavey attempted to gut the moose in accordance with Iditarod rules regarding killing large game animals in self-defense. He then used a Garmin inReach to contact race officials and let them know that a dead moose had to be moved off-trail.

Following the incident, a three-person panel of race officials unanimously ruled to hand Seavey a two-hour penalty for not gutting the moose sufficiently. By definition, gutting includes taking out the intestines and other internal organs. The decision to penalize Seavey comes after determining that he violated Rule 34, which states: "In the event that an edible big game animal (i.e., 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. Following teams must help gut the animal when possible. No teams may pass until the animal has been gutted and the musher killing the animal has proceeded. Any other animal killed in defense of life or property must be reported to a race official but need not be gutted."

While no more is known about the state of the gutted moose, Seavey told Iditarod Insider that he "gutted it the best [he] could, but it was ugly." According to the investigation, Seavey used a handgun to shoot the moose at 1:32 AM on Monday, March 5, and spent approximately 10 minutes at the site of the encounter before continuing on. Meat has already been salvaged from the moose by Iditarod officials and volunteers, and it will be distributed by Iditarod support crews in Skwenta, Alaska.

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The two-hour penalty will be served while Seavey takes his mandatory 24-hour rest. This penalty is in accordance with Rule 51, which states: "Time penalties will be imposed when determined by race officials a rule infraction has occurred and a competitive advantage has been gained. Time penalties require a majority decision of a three-member panel of race officials appointed by the Race Marshal."

Mushers are able to choose which checkpoint they take their 24-hour rest; while some mushers are already choosing to take them, Seavey has yet to take his. When the penalty decision was made, Seavey was between Ophir and Cripple checkpoints, in first place with 14 dogs in harness. Faloo, the dog who was seriously injured in the moose encounter, is out of surgery in Anchorage and is heading home to rest and recover at Seavey's kennel.

Information regarding the mushers who did not stop at the moose's kill site has not yet been released.

READ MORE: Roadkill for Dinner? Alaska's Moose Salvage Program Offers Free Meat to Locals