Moose attack outside Nederland prompts warnings of potential aggressive wildlife behavior defending their young
NEDERLAND - A 69-year-old man was attacked by a cow moose while working on a ranch Thursday morning and was transported by ambulance to Boulder Community Hospital for examination of his injuries.
The incident occurred on private property outside of the town of Nederland. The man was doing property work near thick willow brush when the cow (female) moose attacked him.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers surveyed the property and found a cow moose still in the area and witnesses report seeing her with a calf recently, likely prompting the defensive and aggressive behavior. A dog was also present at the scene of the attack.
No action will be taken against the moose because this incident occurred outside of town on private property, the moose was in its natural habitat and likely a result of seasonal behavior being very protective of its young.
Although this incident was not believed to be sparked by irresponsible behavior, it does serve as an example that wildlife are just that, wild, and they can act in unpredictable ways. CPW reminds the public to respect wildlife and their space.
“It serves as a good reminder that not only moose, but elk and deer are also having babies right now, and does and cows can be aggressive when their fawns and calves are newborn and very vulnerable to predation,” said Area Wildlife Manager Kristin Cannon. “They may be aggressive towards people, but especially people with dogs, and especially if those dogs are off leash.”
Many birds and mammals give birth this time of the year. Now through the end of the month, newborn wildlife will be found across the landscape and it is important that when they are observed, that people do so from a distance and never try to interact with them.
Having dogs off leash often escalates run-ins with wildlife from just a sighting into what could be a dangerous situation.
“As people are recreating for the next three or four weeks, they should be keeping their dogs on a leash or leaving them at home,” Cannon said. “They should be aware of their surroundings and should give all wildlife plenty of space.”
One way to avoid an unnecessary run-in with a moose is to steer clear of thick willow habitat in riparian areas where they are likely to be found eating or resting. Their calves, who are born at the end of May and early June, are often lying in the willows while their mother is off grazing. Calves are usually weaned off a mothers milk after a couple months.
Last fall in response to a growing concern over an increase in moose and human interactions, CPW released a new video illustrating how people can be safe and responsible around these giant mammals.
The video is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6Qj9K_eJJE&t=2s
Tips for watching moose: https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeMooseWatching.aspx
Top: Pictured is the private ranch that is full of thick willow brush.
Bottom Left: The cow moose that was observed eating willows by wildlife officers far off in the distance on the ranch.
Bottom Right: Wildlife officers begin their search of the property. They were looking to see if they could find and observe the behavior of the moose while also looking for a newborn calf, which was not sighted during the investigation.
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.