"Be vigilant when recreating outdoors" – spate of defensive moose incidents leaves dog dead, prompts warning for hikers

A moose
Six incidents between humans and defensive moose in recent weeks have local hikers and dog walkers on edge (Image credit: Patrick J. Endres)

A spate of incidents between humans and defensive moose has left hikers on edge and prompted officials to urge "caution and common sense" in one Colorado mountain town.

According to a news release by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, six moose incidents have occurred in the Rocky Mountain towns of Fraser and Tabernash since January 28. The towns both serve Winter Park ski resort, where we reported on a wayward moose on the loose in late January. In the first occurrence, a man was walking with two dogs on leash on the Fraser River trail, a hiking trail that connects Fraser to Winter Park, when he encountered a cow moose with her calves. 

"The moose charged at the man, but he sustained only minor bruises and did not require medical attention," writes CPW in the report.

Since then, another five incidents have been reported to CPW; three of which took place in nearby Tabernash. 

"No human injuries were reported, but in one of the Tabernash incidents, a dog was killed after being stomped by a moose."

As a result, CPW is warning all residents of both towns to be more vigilant when recreating outdoors and avoid the Fraser Trail for the time being.

Moose walking through snow, USA

CPW is warning all residents of both towns to be more vigilant when recreating outdoors and avoid the Fraser Trail for the time being (Image credit: Getty)

Moose safety

Moose are not known to be hostile animals, however they do act defensively when they feel threatened or are protecting their young. In September, we reported on two moose attacks in one week in Boulder County. 

Moose are known to be aggressive towards dogs, which they view as predators. When hiking with dogs in moose country, always keep your dogs on leash and if you encounter a moose on the trail, give it lots of space and leave the area as quickly as possible.

If a moose starts acting aggressively towards you, you are too close – run away from it as quickly as you can and try to place an object like a tree or boulder between you and the moose. Learn more in our article on what to do if you see a moose while hiking.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.