DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are warning people to be extra cautious around elk and moose during this time of year — when they may be protecting newborn offspring. CPW has investigated several elk and moose conflicts since late May that ended with people or dogs being hurt.

(credit: Michael Underwood)

“Because elk, deer, moose and other wild animals are currently rearing their newborn offspring, it increases the possibility of a serious wildlife encounter,” CPW stated.

There was a moose attack in May in Larimer County and three elk incidents in June in Jefferson County.

On May 23 in the Crystal Lakes subdivision of western Larimer County, a man was attacked by a cow moose. CPW says the cow came out of the trees and reared up on her back legs. The cow knocked the man down and stomped on his body. The man had to go to the hospital.

Wildlife officers found signs the cow had just given birth and believe the mother moose was defending her newborn.

The presence of a dog can be a major catalyst in serious conflicts with moose and elk, CPW warned. Dogs were involved in three reports in Conifer and Evergreen this month.

“Just last week in Conifer, a woman was walking her dog on a leash when she unknowingly got too close to a cow elk she didn’t see. The elk charged her and she was able to get out of its way, but in the process broke her knee falling off a retaining wall,” officials stated.

A cow elk charged at another woman walking her dog in Evergreen on June 7. Wildlife officers checked out the location and found an elk in the area that showed signs it was nursing. They say her calf was likely hidden nearby.

A similar report came in the day prior, also in Evergreen.

“If you are watching an elk just standing there, but notice a change in its behavior in any way, you are too close and need to back away,”  said Scott Murdoch, Wildlife Officer in the Conifer district of Jefferson County. “Their first signs of being alerted to your presence are often them raising their ears or head and stopping what they were doing.”

For information about what to do if you encounter a wild animal, visit the CPW website.

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