There’s “sparring,” and then there’s “fighting.” And this is fighting. 

A recent video shows a truly brutal battle between two bull moose. The footage was initially shared on YouTube to an account known as “scorpion3375” on October 19 before being reposted on social media by Nature Is Metal earlier this week. 

Scorpion3375 did not disclose the exact date or location of the fight. The footage begins showing two big moose clashing antlers on a small dirt road. One of the moose soon gains the upper hand and charges into the broad side of the other moose, forcing it to stumble backwards down a steep slope. As it does so, the retreating moose tips over and crashes onto the side of a two-lane highway. 

“Holy s•••,” exclaims someone in the background. The dominant moose keeps the other moose pinned to the ground for a moment. The other bull lies still before clambering back to its feet. Both moose then resume battling while struggling to keep their footing on the asphalt. One of the moose again forces the other to fall on the road as the battle continues within feet of some construction equipment. It ends with both bulls in a seeming dead heat. 

While this is one of the fiercest moose vs. moose battles I’ve ever seen, rut battles are a common occurrence each fall. According to the National Park Service, “Bull moose are well-equipped to fight…Their shoulders are huge, and during the rut, their neck muscles expand to twice their normal size. Thick forehead skin acts like armor against punctures.”

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“Sparring is practice fighting that bulls use to gain experience. It superficially resembles fighting as two or more bulls engage their antlers and push each other back and forth,” explains the agency. “Fighting is far more serious and violent. At worst, sparring results in minor breakage of antlers or perhaps minor wounds inflicted by accident. Fights often result in serious injuries, and at worst, result in death.”