Utah hikers linger a little too long beside incredibly angry bull moose

A moose
(Image credit: Patrick J. Endres)

A group of people hiking in Utah got a shock when they hung around a little too long by a pair of moose during the mating season. In a video shared online this week, the bull, which had been pursuing a cow, clearly didn't appreciate having an audience and lashed out, kicking violently and tossing his head to send the crowd scattering. Luckily nobody seems to have been hurt, but it shows just how aggressive a moose can be when provoked.

The clip, which was shot by Colt VanCampen during the fall, has begun circulating online this week thanks to infamous Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks. The page documents reckless behavior at sites of natural beauty around the world, such as people hitting golf balls into the Grand Canyon and trying to poke moose, but in this case it seems that the hikers hadn't intended to approach the animals; they happened to stumble across the hormonal creatures by accident and chose to stay nearby just a little too long.

"An adult moose can run up to 35mph and weigh in around 1,400lb or more," wrote VanCampen. "Here we get to see a bull demonstrate a little bit of his power."

Wild Aware Utah advises hikers that cows with calves can be aggressive during the spring, and bull moose are most likely to lash out during the fall breeding season.

Moose safety

The National Park Service warns visitors that the most important thing is to give moose plenty of room. if you do come across one at close range (they can be surprisingly well camouflaged for such large animals), try to avoid being spotted. If the moose does see you, talk to it calmly while you back away, and avoid any aggressive or startling behavior.

If you believe that the moose may be about to charge, aim to get behind something solid like a building, car, or large rock. Unlike when bears charge, it's OK to run if a moose attacks. Although they can move quickly, they rarely chase, and if they do, it's unlikely to be for long. For more advice, see our guide what to do if you see a moose while hiking.

If you have an encounter with aggressive wildlife in Utah, you should alert the nearest Utah Division of Wildlife Resources office. If the encounter or sighting occurs after hours or on the weekend, please call the local police department or county sheriff’s office, who can contact a conservation officer to handle the situation.

Cat Ellis

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.