Monday, March 27, 2006

Not lovable Bullwinkle

Warning to moose: The Colorado Division of Wildlife won't tolerate bad behavior. Warning to people: Watch out for moose.
On Sunday, a bull moose attacked and seriously injured an elderly resident of Grand Lake who was walking to church. The moose was shot and killed after the attack. "All indications are that the moose attack was unprovoked," said DOW regional manager Ron Veldade. "The DOW will not tolerate wildlife aggression towards people and in this case we felt fully justified in killing the moose."

Another attack by a moose was reported two weeks ago: A moose knocked a woman to the ground and stepped on her after it was startled by her dog. She wasn't seriously injured.

Moose encounters aren't that rare. I know a wildlife photographer who has spent time in Alaska photographing grizzlies and wolves but who had one of his scariest encounters when a moose charged him. A friend in Winter Park was jogging with her dogs near the river, and was charged by a moose. I've been lucky: Both times I met moose face to face on a trail (in the Grant Tetons and in Rocky Mountain National Park near Grand Lake), I walked away. Luckily, the moose I met were preoccupied, munching on lush green willows.

So, if you meet a moose, what do you do? These tips are from Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection:
1. Never get between a cow and her calf.
2. Never throw anything at a moose.
3. Keep dogs under control on the trail.
4. Avoid moose that are in a fenced area or place where they might feel cornered.
5. Step behind a tree if a moose charges.
6. If a moose charges, raise your hands over your head and spread out your fingers. Hold your arms still.
7. If a moose attacks, fall to the ground, cover your head and stay still.

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