Iditarod penalizes Dallas Seavey for ‘not sufficiently’ gutting moose he shot in defense of team

a musher and a team of sled dogs
Five-time champion Dallas Seavey drives his dog team across Long Lake during the Iditarod restart in Willow on Sunday, March 3, 2024. (Bill Roth / ADN)

A three-person panel convened by Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race race marshal Warren Palfrey on Wednesday to review Dallas Seavey’s fatal encounter with a moose earlier in the week determined that “the animal was not sufficiently gutted by the musher.”

For the infraction, the Iditarod Trail Committee said Wednesday, Seavey is receiving a two-hour time penalty, which will be added on to the 24-hour mandatory rest Seavey appears likely to take at the checkpoint of Cripple, 425 miles into the race.

Seavey reported that he’d shot the moose outside of Skwentna early Monday after it began attacking his dogs, one of which had to be flown to Anchorage for emergency surgery after the incident. Upon arriving at the next checkpoint at Finger Lake, he told Iditarod Insider, “I gutted it as best I could, but it was ugly.”

The Iditarod has explicit rules about dispatching large, edible wildlife in the course of the race, and deemed Seavey’s compliance to have been substandard.

According to the panel’s investigation, “approximately 10 minutes was spent at the site of the encounter.” He then mushed on for about 11 miles before stopping his team along the trail for a three-hour rest.

The carcass, meanwhile, remained in the trail, largely obscured because of a sharp turn, and multiple mushers said their teams had traveled over it.

The Iditarod Trail Committee didn’t provide specifics about what exactly was inadequate in Seavey’s hasty field dressing. It did note, “By definition, gutting: taking out the intestines and other internal organs of (a fish or other animal) before cooking it.”

RELATED: Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey shoots moose to protect his dogs, officials say

Seavey’s response to the penalty wasn’t immediately available Wednesday, as it was announced just as he was mushing through one of the most remote parts of the nearly thousand-mile race course toward a shelter cabin at the Cripple checkpoint. A call to Seavey’s cellphone went straight to voicemail.

post on his kennel’s Facebook page Wednesday evening described the penalty as “less than great news,” adding that this year’s race has brought multiple setbacks. “We hope to gain additional perspective and insight as Dallas learns that his 24 hour rest is now a 26 hour rest,” the post said.

Seavey’s kennel also shared an update on Faloo, the wheel dog injured in the moose incident, saying the animal would be returning home on Wednesday.

Though the race judges determined Seavey’s field dressing was inadequate, at least some portion of the game meat remained edible.

“The moose was later retrieved, processed and salvaged and is being distributed by Iditarod support based in Skwentna,” according to the Iditarod’s statement.

Officials with the Iditarod Trail Committee did not immediately respond to questions Wednesday afternoon about how exactly the meat is being used.

RELATED: Iditarod back-of-the-pack mushers and their dogs are learning on the fly

This story originally appeared in the Anchorage Daily News and is republished here with permission.

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