Friday, August 2, 2013

Moose injures hiker near Peaceful Valley

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding the public about the dangers of approaching moose after a woman was injured by a cow moose on Monday, July 29th.

Around 4:15 p.m., a 55-year old woman was hiking with her dogs off leash on the Middle St. Vrain Trail above Camp Dick near Peaceful Valley in Boulder County. She encountered a moose with two calves, which her dogs ran towards. When she moved toward the moose to gather her dogs, she was struck by the adult moose, knocked to the ground and kicked. The injured woman was taken to Longmont United Hospital and then later released.

"I've spoken with the victim in this unfortunate incident and we certainly hope she is feeling better soon," said Larry Rogstad, Area Wildlife Manager for Boulder. "It's important that all recreationists know there is always the potential to encounter moose, as well as bears, elk, and lions in the back country and along Front Range trails. Keeping dogs on a leash and keeping your distance from wildlife is essential for the health and safety of all involved."

Wildlife officers searched the area Monday night and Tuesday afternoon, but could not locate the moose.

Moose do not differentiate dogs from wolves - their natural predator - and will instinctively attempt to stomp them in self-defense. If the dog runs back to its owner for safety, it can bring an angry, thousand pound moose with it, putting people at risk as well.

Late spring is calving season and cow moose will aggressively protect their young through the summer. Wildlife officials advise that people watch all wildlife from a distance with binoculars or a spotting scope. In addition, people should keep their dogs on leashes at all times, especially in areas where moose are common. With their large size and their habit of standing quietly in wet meadows moose may appear to be calm and passive animals. However, when people and their dogs move too close the moose’s disposition can change in the blink of an eye as they charge and aggressively defend their space.

According to Rogstad, “that extra step taken to get that great photo of a moose can result in a tragic outcome for the person and the moose. Please stay back and enjoy wildlife from a distance--that’s what telephoto lenses are for, and when large animals are encountered on the trail please stay back and let them move off.”

For more information about living with wildlife, click here. For more information about how to safely enjoy moose, click here.


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