This incident marks the third known moose attack on a person this year. The first happened in Breckenridge on May 26, and the second happened in Grand Lake on May 31. CPW said both of those incidents were from cows that exhibited defensive behavior near their calves.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Jason 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 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
“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.