A moose was near a hiker and his dog — and they didn’t know until it was too late, Idaho officials said.
The hiker was walking with his dog on a trail in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest south of Pocatello on Wednesday, March 9, when he encountered a moose.
“The hiker recounted that he was not aware of the moose until the animal was already upon him,” Idaho Fish and Game said in a March 10 news release. “To escape, he jumped off the trail into deeper snow, quickly covering his head with his arms.”
Even though the hiker tried to dodge the moose, the animal came charging at him. The moose stomped on the man up to three times before leaving, according to Fish and Game.
The hiker stayed in the snow before standing up. He was injured but able to walk back to the trailhead on his own.
“The moose had moved down to the creek, keeping an eye on the hiker and his dog as they slowly passed the moose and returned to the trailhead parking lot,” officials said.
Conflicts between people and moose are rare, but moose can become defensive if startled. Moose are also protective animals and will defend their territory and young.
Moose are massive animals, weighing between 800 and 1,200 pounds. They can stand up to 6 feet tall at the shoulder, according to wildlife officials. They are “extremely curious” and want to check everything out.
If a moose starts getting aggressive, it could have laid-back ears and raised hair on its neck, wildlife officials said, while another tell-tale sign is if the creature starts licking its snout. Hikers should keep pets away and avoid animals that are acting abnormally.
“Keep your distance, at least three car lengths between you and the animal. Never approach a moose, especially a female with her young,” Idaho Fish and Game said. “If recreating with dogs, maintain control of your pets with leashes and don’t allow them to chase moose or other wildlife.”