DENVER (KDVR) — A large bull moose attacked a dog sled team on a trail in Alaska over the weekend, severely injuring several dogs.
Even though the attack did not happen in Colorado, many have asked, “could this happen in Colorado?”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Jason Clay said, “yes, this sort of occurrence can definitely happen in Colorado, and maybe not the same exact scenario, but it has happened.”
Clay said there were four moose attacks involving humans in 2021, and three of those attacks involved dogs as a catalyst in those attacks.
CPW said moose react to all dogs as they would to a wolf, one of their primary predators, by attempting to crush it with their hooves. Because of this instinctive, aggressive response, CPW officials recommend keeping dogs on a leash and under control when recreating in the backcountry or consider leaving the dog at home.
“If you are going to be anywhere in moose country, whether it’s hiking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, whatever it may be, you need to be very alert to your surroundings,” Clay said. “If you do come across a moose, it is likely not going to back out of your way.”
If a moose charges you, here’s what CPW said you should do:
- Run away as fast as possible
- Get behind a large tree, rock or other object
- If you are knocked down, get up quickly
- If injured, seek immediate medical attention
- Report the incident to CPW as soon as possible
Clay said that moose often travel along packed trails instead of the deep snow off to the side of trails.
“What we say sometimes is if you put your thumb out and you can cover that whole animal with your thumb then in a lot of ways you’re probably at a safe distance,” Clay shared.
Clay said moose typically respond to threats by raising their hackles on the back of their neck, licking their snout and pinning their ears back. They may bluff-charge at first, then turn back and charge aggressively, kicking and stomping the threat with their sharp hooves and powerful front leg.