If you spend any time in the backcountry or hiking trails, it’s probably only a matter of time before you encounter a moose. You may already have. Do you know what to do?
In response, Colorado Parks and Wildlife created a video to help educate residents and visitors on how to be safe around the moose population, which has grown drastically from a modest 24 in 1978, when the Shiras subspecies was first relocated to Colorado, to nearly 2,500 across the state.
The video, narrated by District Wildlife Manager Elissa Slezak, of Summit County, offers advice on preventing a confrontation with moose, as well as what to do if that confrontation becomes unavoidable.
“Moose do not fear humans so it can lead some to think they are friendly — I assure you they are not,” she said. “Many people get into trouble because moose appear docile at first and don’t run away when people approach, but when a moose has decided you’ve invaded their space they can move very fast and it’s often too late to get away. And when it comes to defending their young, cow moose will protect their calves very aggressively, especially in the presence of dogs.”
The overall point is to keep a safe distance from moose so you never have to make such an assessment, though there are telltale signs that things are escalating. When threatened, moose typically lick their snouts, pin their ears back and raise the hackles on the back of their necks. If you see any of those signs, it is time to start running as fast as possible.
“Get behind a tree, a boulder or a car, then wait for the moose to leave on its own. You won’t be able to ‘shoo’ a moose away, and if you try, it could make the situation worse,” Slezak said.
For more information about moose, visit the CPW website.