I was charged by a bull moose today. I forgot my camera at home,
so unfortunately no pictures, but here is the story anyway.
I was hiking back to the Bradley/Taggart Trailhead around mid-afternoon, after a solo ski mission in Garnet Canyon. My skis were on my back and AT boots on my feet. I was descending the moraine between Bradley and Taggart Lakes when I entered an open area and saw the bull moose, with a healthy rack, about 50 yards out and 5-10â€™ off to the side of the trail. I continued hiking towards him, shouting, waving my arms above my head and banging my ski poles together trying to get him to skedaddle.
As I got closer, it was apparent that he wasnâ€™t moving and I stopped about 15-20 yards away from himâ€¦still making noise and shouting. We were at a stand-off and he was staring at me, and literally licking his chops. After a couple minutes, I decided to head into the bush and try to navigate around him. I took a couple steps into some waist high willows and glanced back at the moose as I did so. It was at that time that the moose turned to the side, lowered its head and then began swaying his head and rack back and forth. I started to shit bricks, as I knew this couldnâ€™t be a good sign and I picked up the pace as I bushwhacked.
Glancing back again, I saw the moose dig in, then leap from a stand still and begin to run right towards me. I was freaked and began clawing at the willows with my Whippet and trying to negotiate through the willows with my ski boots on and skis flailing above my head. I knew I didnâ€™t have much time to run away, since he was pretty close, and I dove behind a couple 10â€™ tall dwarf pines on the edge of the thicker bush. The moose shoved his paddles into the trees from the other side, then stopped and just stood there, still licking his chops and also now snorting.
My mind was racing and I didnâ€™t know what to do. I got impatient and didnâ€™t want to stick around and just wait for the mooseâ€™s next move. Slowly, I backed up, keeping the trees between me and the moose until I was about 10 yards away from him. Then, I made my move, turned my back to the moose and bolted through an open area to get some distance between the two of us.
The moose seemed content to leave me alone at this point, but the darn thing just walked right back to the trail again and blocked my route. Finally, I went for it and gave him a wide berth as I hopped over some logs and trashed though the willows to try to get past him. As I did, he sat down 5â€™ off the trail and seemed to laugh to himself, as I cursed at him until I was finally able to gain the trail again. I will definitely be a bit more cautious on my next moose encounter and Iâ€™m thankful this one didnâ€™t get the better of me.
I’ve given up trying to predict if a moose will get antsy. Some have let me walk within 5 feet of cow & calf (unknowingly – Phillips Ridge). Others bluff charge from 200 ft away (Teton Village). Like you, I’ve run into some that just seem intent on blocking your path. You move, they move.
Does bear spray work on moose?
yeah…i wonder how many we walk right by when it’s dark out in the early morning hours. my guess is that bear spray would do something…if you have time to pull it out and the guts to stand your ground and fire. me?…i’m probably running for cover again.
the old timers say they are like a woman…unpredictable.
Bull Moose in the fall are downright ornery. The rest of the year the seem not to really care. Your lucky he didn’t try to get his groove thing on with you.
Maybe that Whippet could have come in handy? Glad you’re ok.
I wonder if your skis waving above your head as you were walking away is what provoked the moose to charge. Perhaps the skis looked like antlers to the moose
no one has asked the obvious question: how was the skiing?
ted…it was variable. with a pretty good wind-skin in spots.
#1 rule: Moose don’t give a s**t.
Bark like a dog! Moves them out better than any human antics. If they insist, hit them in the face with bear spray. After being stomped on in Montana, I always get the spray ready whenever i see one within a hundred yards.
yeah man, that would have blown donuts to have gotten tramped this close to the ski season…if it ever decides to really get here.
I bet the skis played a role in the charge. As they may have imitated a set of antlers.
In situations like that it’s probably best to summon your inner “Guy on a Buffalo”
A MÃ¸Ã¸se once bit my sister …
No realli! She was Karving her initials on the mÃ¸Ã¸se with the sharpened end of an interspace tÃ¸Ã¸thbrush given her by Svenge – her brother-in-law – an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian mÃ¸vies: “The HÃ¸t Hands of an Oslo Dentist”, “Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge MÃ¸lars of Horst Nordfink”.
We apologise for the fault in this TetonAT Blog comment. Those responsible have been
Mynd you, mÃ¸Ã¸se bites Kan be pretty nasti…
We apologise again for the fault in the TetonAT Comments. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.
I wouldn’t have gotten that close to him. They are unpredictable and big enough to stomp you. I thought I read somewhere that more people are killed by moose every year in NA than any other creature except snakes.
Hey SB really nice contribution, I don’t think any of us realized they are big and unpredictable.
I got charged by two bulls when I first moved to salt lake. I bailed off a small cliff and hid behind a tree and then I cried.
He thought your skis sticking up out of the back of your head was your “rack” and that you were competing for the cows.
No, Jim, he was just being a Moose! A cow will stomp you just as readily.
ps. I take it you didn’t molest his cows, RS?
Nuking in Alta this morning! Bring it on.
From the Park Service Website:
Viewing Wildlife Safely
Maintain a distance of at least 300 feet from large animals.
Never put yourself between an adult animal and its offspring.
Do not feed any wild animal.
Don’t approach or chase wildlife.
BAD Skier! Lazy Skier!
hiking 7 hours to get ~1-2k’ of skiing is lazy? guess the bar is set a bit higher these days.
i wonder if the park service would have given me a ticket if i would have gotten stomped? and what if the “large animal” approaches you with speed and comes within the 300′ buffer the park service requires? you can only move away so fast.
see you on the slopes!
At least the next time you see one this winter you’ll be able to ski right past in a flash …It’s DUMPING out there today :+}
Bulls are pretty aggressive during & after the rut. I had a similar experience a few years ago hiking during the rut. Came up on a bull and cow, he went crazy. Racking his antlers on bushes and snorting, I backed away after a few minutes. But then again in the dead of winter I have sat with 5 bulls in a half circle all laying down, one of the coolest experiences I have had with wildlife.
walking to mt. moran a few springs ago a buddy and i came too close to a moose.
it was maybe 3am, pitch black, and we were making a ton of noise. making great time. we were on the trail by trapper lake, and all the sudden the ground started shaking, and vegetation started breaking loudly. we never even saw what it was, but it had to have been a moose. long story short, we shit our pants.
after that, we moved at a MUCH slower pace, scared of every single noise.
I can’t believe my Monty Python Moose comment got negged.. I mean’ come on Steve – most classic intro to a movie every involving Moose!
sorry nick…honestly, i wasn’t sure if it was spam or what.
Maybe he was still in the rut, and just thought you smelled pretty;)
Careful out there!
what do you mean derek…THINK i smelled pretty? OF COURSE i smelled pretty! 🙂
yeah man…sorry to hear about your bro down there. fuck…i’ve been scared shitless of avalanches all summer, but it doesn’t take long to find yourself looking right back down the dragon’s throat again in the early winter. and being so stoked to ski…it’s hard to turn back sometimes. add in a heightened risk tolerance level and people that live on the edge are screwed. hope the snowpack comes around for all of us.
btw…that freaking samurai of yours is awesome. let me know if you want to break it in on a winds mission to the wilderness line. yee-fucking-haw!!!
Hey Dan really nice contribution, I donâ€™t think any of us realized you were such a sissy.
New rig is a Yamaha Grizzly 660 with those tracks on it.
Wind River Range sounds fun.
wow…that’s rad derek, and much more portable. tow a sled with gear and you are good to go!
The two bulls in this video battled for over 5 minutes in our yard, but we only managed to capture this last little bit on video. They knocked over blobked firewood and kicked the house itself. After being charged in 2003 by a cow, I thought they were the riskier of the moose bunch, but now I’m steering clear of the bulls too. I’ve decided these powerful creatures are best left at a distance. Interesting to consider that your skis may have had an antler-like appearance.
thanks libby…that linky-no-worky though.
[…] it is whumps in the snowpack, unpredictable moose, or slick and icy spots, there can be some pretty darn scary moments when you are out on the skin […]