BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– A woman was knocked to the ground and kicked after she encountered a moose while hiking in Boulder County.
The 55-year-old woman was hiking with her dogs off leash just before 5 p.m. Monday on the Middle St. Vrain Trail above Camp Dick near Peaceful Valley in Boulder County.
She encountered a moose with two calves and her dogs ran towards them. When she moved toward the cow moose to get her dogs the moose knocked her to the ground and kicked her.
The woman was taken to Longmont United Hospital and released.
“I’ve spoken with the victim in this unfortunate incident and we certainly hope she is feeling better soon,” said Larry Rogstad, Area Wildlife Manager for Boulder. “It’s important that all recreationists know there is always the potential to encounter moose, as well as bears, elk, and lions in the back country and along Front Range trails. Keeping dogs on a leash and keeping your distance from wildlife is essential for the health and safety of all involved.”
Wildlife officers searched the area Monday and Tuesday but could not locate the moose.
Moose do not differentiate dogs from wolves, their natural predator, and will instinctively attempt to stomp them in self-defense.
If the dog runs back to its owner for safety, it can bring an angry, thousand pound moose with it, putting people at risk as well.
Late spring is calving season and cow moose will aggressively protect their young through the summer. Wildlife officials advise that people watch all wildlife from a distance with binoculars or a spotting scope.
In addition, people should keep their dogs on leashes at all times, especially in areas where moose are common. With their large size and their habit of standing quietly in wet meadows moose may appear to be calm and passive animals.
However, when people and their dogs move too close the moose’s disposition can change in the blink of an eye as they charge and aggressively defend their space.