Two tourists learned a painful lesson recently after taunting and touching a moose at Big Sky, Montana. The animal stayed calm as the two men edged towards it, but lost patience after one of them touched it, and knocked him to the ground.
The incident (which you can watch below) was recorded by Jake Hopfensberger and shared on TouronsOfYellowstone, an Instagram account that highlights bad behavior at US National Parks and other sites of natural beauty. These often involve people getting much too close and personal with wildlife, whether it's teasing an elk (and getting a car tire punctured in exchange) or trying to ride a bison.
Be aware that the video below contains bad language.
A photo posted by on
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks explains that moose were once rare in the state, but now occupy forested regions throughout western Montana. They tend to move down from the mountains for the winter, and their long, slim legs make them well suited to moving through thick snow.
Although they are usually docile and generally prefer to avoid close encounters with people, like all wild animals, moose can become aggressive if they or their young are threatened. They are also more likely to charge in winter, when they are tired or food deprived. Adult males (bulls) weigh between 800lb and 1,200lb, while females (cows) are around 600lb to 800lb, and they can move at up to 35mph, making them potentially very dangerous.
If you encounter a moose while hiking, it will probably choose to leave the area first. If not, you can avoid escalating the situation by talking calmly, securing pets and small children, and backing away slowly to give the animal space.
Keep facing the moose, and watch out for signs such as stomping hooves, grunting, and raised hair on the neck, which can all be signs that the animal is aggravated and may charge. If you do, get behind a solid object like a tree, rock, or building as soon as possible. For more advice on how to keep yourself safe, see our guide what to do if you see a moose while hiking.
- The best binoculars and monoculars: enjoy watching wildlife from a safe distance
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.