Startled Moose Injures Elderly Montana Hiker

by Chris Haney

Last Wednesday, an elderly hiker in Montana sustained injuries after a startling close encounter with an enormous bull moose.

Local news station KTVQ reported that two men in their 70s went hiking on the Jack Creek Trail on Jan. 27, also known as U.S. Forest Service Trail 6317. The trail is around 10 miles east of Ennis, MT. About two miles into the trail, the hiking duo came face to face with the bull moose. The huge animal stood only 10 yards off to the side of the trail, according to a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks press release.

Before the two men could move on from the area, the bull moose charged toward the hikers. Each of the hikers tried to take cover from the charging moose. One of the men hid behind a standing tree, and the other hiker took cover behind a fallen tree. The moose went after the hiker hiding behind the fallen tree and its branches. The large beast kicked at the man and the surrounding branches before the other hiker was able to successfully scare it off.

The man who got attacked by the moose sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Healthcare professionals treated the hiker at Madison Valley Medical Center. Additionally, the other hiker came away from the bull moose encounter without any need for medical attention.

Moose Can Become Unpredictable and Dangerous in Close Encounters

Although moose seem to be docile and often are, they can also tend to be defensive and therefore dangerous in close encounters. The enormous animals are extremely powerful and can become unpredictable when they feel threatened.

The MFWP has placed signs at the hiking trail’s entrance to warn others of the recent encounter. The wildlife agency has no further plans for action related to the matter. However, they did say that hikers should stay in groups and suggested that visitors make plenty of noise to alert moose to their presence.

Residents and visitors to Montana can find moose across most of the state. Therefore, MFWP officials have further suggestions in hopes of preventing negative encounters with moose. Here’s a list of precautions that hikers should take into account before hitting the trails in Montana.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and be especially careful around creeks and in areas with dense brush.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible and make casual noise to alert animals to your presence.
  • If you encounter a moose, give it lots of space and don’t approach it. Keep dogs under control at all times.
  • If a moose charges or chases you, take cover behind something solid, such as a tree.