Although they appear gentle, moose attack hikers and tourists every year throughout North America.
Some suggest that the moose is more dangerous to campers than grizzly bears. Moose will attack when they feel threatened, and since they weigh up to 700 kilograms, ensuring you are not a threat is very important! Moose are not complicated, so in order to avoid an attack, you must know how they tick before hiking or paddling through moose habitat.
Why Moose Attack
- Calves – In the early summer, cow moose are with their calves – if you come between a cow and her calf, you are in trouble,
- Mating – In the fall, the bull moose are highly aggressive when courting cows – if you encounter a bull moose during mating season, it may perceive you as a mating threat and attack,
- Provoked – Do not provoke it with words, gestures, or actions – stay calm in order to reduce the likelihood of conflict,
- Dogs – Moose will perceive your dog, like wolves and coyotes, as a threat – dogs and moose don’t mix!
A moose will charge to ward off potential threats. By not appearing as a threat, you will survive an aggressive moose encounter.
Signs of an aggressive moose include:
- Walking in your direction,
- Stomping its feet,
- Peeling its ears back,
- Throwing its head back and forth.
If you are hiking or paddling through moose habitat, it may perceives you as a threat and attack.
Consider the following:
- Back away with your palms facing the moose,
- Speak softly and reassuringly, like you would to a child or disagreeable boss,
- If the moose charges, get behind a large tree, rock or friend in order to separate yourself from the moose – most moose charges, like grizzly bear charges, are bluffs,
- If the moose attacks – play dead by curling up in a little ball. Protect your head and neck with your arms. If you are wearing a backpack, keep it on. Your pack will protect your back.