BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife have confirmed that a man, woman, and dog were injured after being charged by a moose near Nederland, about 16 miles outside Boulder, on Wednesday morning.
CPW said the incident happened near the West Magnolia Trailhead before 8 a.m. A Boulder County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived in the area and came across a cow moose while trying to find the people who were injured.
“They were walking their dogs and they came across a blind curve, a mom moose, and a baby moose, and a male moose,” a nearby neighbor, Dianne Delaurent, told Nexstar’s KDVR.
The deputy tried to scare off the moose by firing bean bag rounds at it. CPW said that’s when the moose ran off. Then, while the deputy was helping the two injured people, the moose returned.
The deputy fired a warning shot and the moose left the area a second time. As the deputy and medics were helping the injured man and woman to the trailhead, CPW said the moose returned to the area for the third time, presumably to protect their calf, and the moose resumed charging at people. The deputy then fired his weapon and killed the moose.
“They want you out of their space, they don’t want you around in their presence,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Public Information Officer Jason Clay.
A 31-year-old man was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Additionally, a woman received minor injuries. Their dog was also injured during the attack.
CPW will investigate the circumstances around what caused the cow moose to attack.
“It’s just something to be aware of that there are these animals out here that can and will hurt you if you do something to them or if you are in an area where the life,” hiker David Shore said.
This incident marks the third known moose attack on a person this year. The first happened in Breckenridge on May 26, and the second happened in Grand Lake on May 31. CPW said both of those incidents were from cows that exhibited defensive behavior near their calves.
Clay said there were four moose attacks involving humans in 2021, and three of those attacks involved dogs as a catalyst in those attacks.
Moose sightings are common in Colorado and, during the same time frame on Wednesday, workers were relocating another roughly 40 miles away in Thornton.
If a moose charges you, here’s what CPW said you should do:
- Run away as fast as possible
- Get behind a large tree, rock or other object
- If you are knocked down, get up quickly
- If injured, seek immediate medical attention
- Report the incident to CPW as soon as possible
“What we say sometimes is if you put your thumb out and you can cover that whole animal with your thumb then in a lot of ways you’re probably at a safe distance,” Clay shared.
Moose typically respond to threats by raising their hackles on the back of their neck, licking their snout and pinning their ears back, according to Clay. They may bluff-charge at first, then turn back and charge aggressively, kicking and stomping the threat with their sharp hooves and powerful front leg.
CPW explains that if you ever encounter a moose, the best thing to do is get out of their space as soon as possible.