Vail Daily is reporting a man visiting Breckenridge was injured after a confrontation with a moose and her calf around 9 a.m. Monday morning. Breckenridge Police Department and Colorado Parks and Wildlife were sent to the scene after getting calls regarding a standoff between a moose cow with her calf, and a man with his dog on Snowflake Drive near the Grand Timber Lodge.
Witnesses report seeing a man walking his dog with a retractable leash getting into an old fashioned standoff with the moose for up to ten minutes before the cow charged the man and his dog, knocking him over resulting in minor injuries. The moose and the calf were tranquilized and relocated to a habitat away from people:
“Our officers felt the reasonable thing to do was relocate them but it’s important to note that euthanasia was very much on the table in this circumstance. If a wild animal injures a person, it can lead to the death of the animal. That’s one of the reasons you need to keep your distance. It doesn’t happen in every case, but when wildlife injures humans that can be the end result. And nobody should be under the illusion that because it didn’t happen here, it can’t happen in future cases.” -Colorado Parks and Wildlife Spokesman Mike Porras
This isn’t the first incident of a moose coming into contact with humans in Summit County this season and odds are it won’t be the last.
“This is not just an issue in Breckenridge, but throughout the Northwest region and around the state. Our populations are growing and expanding, and they’ll show up in residential areas, ski runs, trails and in towns. We have a really healthy population, which is great, but people need to get educated about moose. They show up where they want to go, and that brings them into contact with people.” –Mike Porras
Here’s a rule thats easy to remember and fun to share…the CPW suggests using a “rule of thumb” theory if you spot a moose. If you see a moose, stick our your thumb away from your body, and if your thumb covers the entire moose you’re at a safe distance, if not take evasive measures.
If you come around a corner and catch a moose by surprise back away slowly without turning your back. If the moose pins its ears back, raises its hackles (erectile hairs along the back) or licks its snout, those are definite signs of aggression and could signal an impending charge. If a moose charges run away immediately and try and put something large like a tree or car between yourself and the animal.
It should be obvious but doesn’t hurt to mention you should never approach a moose and always be sure to keep dogs leashed when hiking in moose country. Dogs can trigger the same response in a moose as a wild wolf, one of their only natural predators. A massive majority of moose attacks on humans involve dogs so beware dog owners.
Here’s a great video by CPW about moose safety that we should all watch to refresh our memories: