A cow moose killed a 70-year-old amateur photographer who was trying to photograph the animal and its newborn twins near Homer, Alaska, on May 19.

Dale Chorman and a friend were searching for the moose on Chorman’s densely forested 3-acre property east of Homer when the moose burst from a thicket, prompting the men to turn and flee. The moose charged, kicking Chorman, according to an initial report of the incident by the Alaska Department of Public Safety, which dispatched State Troopers and Wildlife Troopers. Medics declared him dead at the scene.

“They both turned to run, and the friend looked back and saw Dale lying on the ground with the moose standing over him,” according to a later account shared with the Associated Press by Tom Kizzia, a Homer journalist and friend of Chorman’s. The second man, who was unharmed, did not witness the attack, leaving authorities unsure exactly how the moose killed Chorman.

“There was no evident trampling, and they didn’t see any signs of trauma later when they recovered his body,” Kizzia said. “I think the medical examiner’s going to try to figure out exactly what happened, whether it was just single blow in the terrible wrong place or something.”

While the general public considers moose less dangerous than bears, the reality is that more people in Alaska are injured each year by moose than by bears. Bull moose can be aggressive during the fall rut, and cows are particularly dangerous in late spring and early summer, warns the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s fact sheet on living with moose: “If you see a calf on its own, be very careful because you may have walked between it and its mother—a very dangerous place to be.”

In a written statement shared by KTUU TV, Nathan Chorman said his father “died doing what he loved most” and noted that the experienced naturalist, wildlife guide, birder, and nature photographer was aware of the risks.

“Dale was highly experienced around wildlife. He was intimately familiar with nature, and had no naivete about its danger,” Nathan Chorman wrote. “This was not a hapless fool stumbling into danger—this was a person who went out looking for a great photo, knowing the risks, and got caught in a dangerous moment.”

Chorman noted that his father would not have wanted to the moose to be tracked down and destroyed, as some have apparently demanded. “The ungulate mother need not die. She was just protecting her offspring,” he wrote.

Reports of aggressive or unusual moose behavior are fielded by the ADFG, which decides how to proceed on a case-by-case basis. “In this case, we’re obviously very concerned about public safety,” Cyndi Wardlow, a regional supervisor in ADFG’s Department of Wildlife Conservation, told the Associated Press. “If there was an animal that was behaving in a way that continued to present a public safety threat, then we could possibly put that animal down but we’re not specifically pursuing that course.”