Last week an Idaho man found himself in a perilous situation, as he was staring down an angry moose charging his way.
He dropped the big bull with a .45-caliber handgun in self defense.
The situation took place at Harrison Lake backcountry campsite north of Sandpoint. The moose reportedly tore apart the man’s campsite and attempted to trample his dog. The camper took cover behind a tree in attempt to hide from the moose, but when the moose charged him he discharged his fire arm and dropped the moose at close range.
The Idaho Department of Game and Fish (IDGF) reported to the scene and found the dead moose at the campground. In response, the U.S. Forest Service has closed the Harrison Lake trailhead for the next week as grizzly bears will presumably be in the area to feed on the moose carcass.
Last year, the Forest Service had to post warnings about an aggressive moose in the area after several hikers and campers reported run-ins. No word on if it was the same moose that harassed the man before he shot it.
Moose should be given the same respect that any large, dangerous, wild animal should receive. They are the largest and heaviest deer species in the world,
The incident serves as a good time for a reminder from the IDGF on safety tips for recreating in moose country.
“Bear spray isn’t just for bears and can also be used as a highly effective tool against other mammals if an unsafe wildlife encounter occurs.
Be prepared when recreating outdoors and know how to use bear spray if necessary. Always give moose a wide berth when you encounter them. Moose, like any wildlife, can become agitated if they feel you are a threat.
When hiking, make noise to announce your presence so you do not surprise a moose, or any wildlife that can be dangerous. Do not hike or trail run with headphones or earbuds.
Most wildlife will give out some kind of warning sounds prior to an attack or aggression. Wearing headphones or earbuds eliminates your extremely valuable sense of hearing.”
It’s also important to prevent dogs from harassing a moose. Dogs can be perceived as a threat, especially if they chase or charge a moose. If you know moose are in the area, it’s best to keep dogs on a leash.
If you encounter a moose, watch its behavior and look for signs of aggression, annoyance, or stress. If a moose points its ears back, or raises the hair on its neck, then it is stressed out and likely to charge.
There are also certain circumstances when a moose is more likely to charge a person or dog. A person should never come between a calf and a mother moose. Bull moose are also more aggressive during the mating rut in the fall, and by late winter when moose have depleted fat stores they tend to become more irritable.
If you see any of these behaviors, the best course of action is to put something between you and the moose as a barrier – like a tree or a vehicle. And if that doesn’t work then just shoot it with a .45.
Either that, or just hide from it in your tool shed if you can.