WARD, CO — A woman was attacked by a moose while walking her dog on the South Saint Vrain Trail north of Ward on Wednesday morning, marking the fourth such incident this summer that has resulted in an injury and the second within a week. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is now investigating the case.
The woman and her dog, who was leashed, encountered a cow moose on the trail, startling it. The moose retaliated by charging the woman, headbutting and stomping her multiple times. She managed to walk to a neighbor’s house, who promptly alerted Boulder County deputies. The woman was then taken to a local hospital for treatment. Her dog sustained minor injuries in the ordeal.
Wildlife officers surveyed the area but were unable to locate the moose. Signs warning visitors of a potentially aggressive moose have been placed near the trail as a precautionary measure.
This attack follows closely on the heels of another incident that took place on the Crags Trail near Colorado Springs—a popular hiking locale. In that episode, a hiker was trampled after encountering a moose and her calf with their leashed dogs and attempting to find a way around them. The moose charged, leading to a short but terrifying chase.
Colorado has seen a steady growth in its moose population, rising from approximately 2,500 in 2015 to about 3,500 in 2021. Coupled with the increasing human population in the state, such incidents are becoming more common, albeit without any straightforward solutions. In almost every case, it was a mother moose protecting her calf in the presence of a dog.
SAFETY TIPS FOR MOOSE COUNTRY
CPW offers the following recommendations to ensure public safety in areas where moose might be present:
Always keep dogs on a leash: A dog off-leash is more likely to provoke a moose to charge.
Hike in groups: Larger groups tend to deter moose from approaching.
Maintain a safe distance: If you spot a moose, stay at least 50 feet away. If the moose changes its behavior, you’re too close.
Be cautious in riparian habitats: Moose often rest or eat in these areas.
Never get between a cow and her calf: Moose mothers are very protective and can become aggressive.
For more information on how to stay safe during wildlife encounters, read our article on moose encounters. You can also visit the CPW page on living with moose for more info and best practices from state wildlife officials.