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Calving Season To Blame After Colorado Couple Charged By Moose During Hike

NEDERLAND, Colo. (CBS4) - An early morning hike in Nederland for a man, woman and their dog was short lived. Around 8 a.m. on June 8, they started out at the West Magnolia trailhead just outside of town. They didn't make it very far before they were surprised by a cow moose and her calf.

"They went around a bend in the trail where there's a big rock nearby and had a surprise encounter," said Jason Clay the Public Information Officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

(credit: CBS)

He says the cow then charged the hikers, knocked the man down and began stomping all around him. That man was seriously injured. The woman and the dog had minor injuries.

Someone called 911 and shortly after Boulder County Sherriff's deputies and Nederland Police officers showed up and shot the moose with beanbags to scare it away.

The animal fled, but at some point, down the trail a cyclist saw the cow and sprayed it with bear spray. That caused the moose to return to the trailhead twice more. The last time it returned it started charging again and a deputy shot and killed the animal. The calf ran away.

moose clear creek county
(credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

Jason Clay says it would be easy to have an encounter with a moose right now because it's calving season. He also says the need to protect a calf will make a cow aggressive. Especially if you have a dog which looks to them like a predator.

"They want you out of their space. They don't want you around. They don't want your presence," said Clay.

He says maybe leave your dog at home right now, and try to stay far away from moose. He also recommends learning the signs that a moose ready to attack.

(credit: CBS)

"It's ears laid back. Maybe it's licking its snout. It turns it shoulders to you. Lowers its head down. Those are signs that it could be about to charge you," said Clay.

If you witness that he says get away as quickly as you can a seek refuge.

"Back away, get behind a big object tree a boulder a car something get some space in between you," said Clay.

CPW says they will keep on looking for that calf because it can't survive in the wilderness alone.


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