Wyoming hiker learns the hard way not to mess with the moose

Bull moose in the fall
(Image credit: Getty)

A tourist visiting Jackson Hole, Wyoming, learned a tough lesson about wildlife safety after he tried to make a resting moose get up and pose for photos at the roadside. The animal (a particularly large male) stood and seemed to tolerate the man's presence for a moment, but soon turned and charged.

When faced with an angry moose, the usual advice is to run and get behind something sturdy like a tree, boulder or building, but this man instead yelped, dropped to the ground and played dead. It was a risky strategy – moose typically use their powerful legs to trample animals they perceive as a threat – but luckily for the tourist it was enough to make the bull lose interest and leave.

A video of the incident (which you can see below) was shared via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone this week as a warning to give wildlife plenty of space. It comes just days after several attacks by moose in Colorado. A runner was hospitalized after being trampled by a moose on June 3, and a man and his dogs were attacked in the same area on June 4.

"Angry momma chased us down the street and in between some homes where she proceeded to kick and stomp all three of us," he wrote on Instagram later.

Moose are not typically aggressive, but they are as unpredictable as any other wild animal, and can charge with little warning if they or their young are threatened. Despite their size and seemingly spindly legs, they can reach speeds up to 35mph, and can weigh over 1,000lb, so being trampled by one could be fatal.

Female moose (cows) are often defensive at this time of year, when they are likely to be protecting calves, so it pays to be especially cautious. Moose tend to react particularly badly around dogs, which they treat like wolves. Males (bulls) are more dangerous during their mating season in the fall, known as the rut, when they are competing for dominance and hormones are running high.

If you accidentally find yourself in close quarters with a moose, secure pets and small children, talk calmly to show that you are not a threat, and back away. For more advice, see our guide what to do if you see a moose while hiking.

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.