Aggressive cow moose with calf reported in the Adams Gulch area north of Ketchum

By Terry Thompson, Regional Communications Manager
Friday, September 4, 2020 – 5:26 PM MDT

An aggressive cow moose bluff charged a family out hiking in the Adams Gulch area north of Ketchum on September 4, 2020. Hikers are encouraged to be alert when hiking area trails.

On Friday, September 4, 2020 Fish and Game received a report of an aggressive cow moose that bluff charged a family in the Adams Gulch area north of Ketchum on Friday, September 4. A family of three with a baby in a stroller and two leashed dogs was hiking along the creek when a cow moose charged the family. An adult male put himself between the charging moose, yelling and raising his arms, which stopped the charge, just short of the family.

Cow moose pictured

Hikers in the Adams Gulch area should use caution when hiking in the area. Always give moose a wide berth when you encounter them when recreating throughout southern Idaho. Moose, like any wildlife, can become agitated if they feel you are a threat

“Moose are very large animals and can be extremely dangerous when agitated” stated conservation officer Brandyn Hurd, “even though they are large animals they are extremely fast, and will use their front hooves to strike out at whatever they view as a threat.”

Residents are reminded to never allow your dog to have the opportunity to chase a moose. Dogs can be viewed as a threat, especially if they were to try and chase a moose, which is why residents are always strongly encouraged to keep their dogs on leash.

When hiking, make noise to announce your presence so you do not surprise a moose, or any wildlife. Do not hike or trail run with headphones or ear buds. Most wildlife will give out some kind of warning sounds prior to an attack or aggression. Wearing headphones or ear buds eliminates your extremely valuable sense of hearing.

If a hiker encounters a moose they should watch the behavior of a moose, looking for signs of agitation or stress. If a moose lays their ears back, that means they are stressed and could charge at any time, as does when the hair on their neck raises. Moose will often snort or grunt, or stomp their hooves if they are stressed or feel threatened. If you see any of these behaviors the best course of safety is to put something between you and the moose – like a tree or a vehicle if you’re near something that could be a barrier.

There are times when a moose might be more apt to charge a person or dog:

  • Never put yourself between a cow and calf
  • During the mating rut, males can become very agitated.
  • In late winter when moose are coming out of a long winter, food is scarce and their fat reserves are depleted. This is a stressful time for moose as well as other wildlife.

Reports of aggressive moose, or any wildlife should be made to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359. If after hours, reports can be made to the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office at (208) 788-5555.

Sam Wermut

Sam Wermut

Chairman, Wildlife Smart Community