TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) issued another warning to the community regarding aggressive wildlife following an incident in Teller County.
On Thursday, a woman with her dog reported a confrontation with a cow moose and its calf about 45 minutes up the popular Crags Trail located off Colorado Highway 67 about 3 miles south of Divide.
According to CPW, the woman’s dog was running off-leash when a cow moose charged the dog from the brush. The hiker told CPW she yelled at the moose, which then turned and charged at her. In her effort to run away, the woman fell and broke her arm.
The woman said the moose stood over her until it resumed chasing her dog. Eventually, the moose and calf wandered off leaving the hiker and her dog to retreat back down the trail to her car.
“This incident is a reminder of why we warn everyone to respect wildlife and give them their space,” said Tim Kroening, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the Pikes Peak region. “… We urge people not to take their dogs into wildlife habitats during fawning and calving season and never let them off-leash.”
Kroening added that confrontations with wildlife can happen with bears, moose, elk, deer and other wildlife especially when dogs are involved.
“They view the dogs as a predator and react in defense of their young,” Kroening stated.
CPW officers posted warning signs on the Crags Trail urging people to avoid the area and to be especially alert to moose if they proceed along the trail.
The incident is another in a series of recent moose conflicts that have resulted in injuries to people in Colorado. These incidents also involved cow moose exhibiting defensive behavior to protect their nearby calves.
“This cow moose was exhibiting classic protective behavior of its calf,” Kroening said. “If you are in the backcountry, give wildlife extra space. Especially this time of year when wildlife are raising their young.
As a precaution against run-ins with moose, Kroening urged hikers to avoid thick willow habitats in riparian areas where they are likely to be found eating or resting. He said that Moose calves, born in a three to four week period from the end of May to mid-June are often lying in the willows while their mother is off grazing.
Calves, which weigh 26 to 28 pounds at birth, typically gain about two pounds of weight per day, reaching weights of 385 to 400 pounds by October, according to CPW.
Kroening said the best practice is to leave young wildlife alone and untouched in their natural habitat so they can grow and thrive in the wild.
“Do not approach, touch or feed wild animals,” Kroening said. “Enjoy wildlife from a safe distance. Keep your dog on a leash and on trails. Perhaps most important, if you find a wild animal that appears sick or injured, leave it alone.”
CPW says this is what you should do if you encounter a moose:
- RUN! Put large objects between you and the moose.
- Hide behind trees or large rocks.
- If it approaches, climb a tree and maintain as much distance as possible.
- In the rare case it attacks, RUN!
- Report an aggressive moose to CPW immediately or call 911.
Get educated, then take action:
- Never approach moose.
- Never take dogs into moose country.
- If you have a dog, keep it leashed at all times.
- Avoid a moose that sees you and walks toward you; it is not being friendly.
Signs of moose aggression:
- Ears laid back.
- Hairs on rump raised.
- Licking snout.