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How to Survive A Wild Moose Encounter

The wild is a dangerous place. But the details of that danger depend on the location. Some places have wolves, others have bears. But what if you encounter a moose? While they may not seem like much of a threat, they can be one of the most risky creatures you come across.

Perhaps you’ve heard that before. Others who live in moose-laden areas telling people about how dangerous they can be. They’re massive creatures, weighing over 1,000 pounds, capable of running up to 30 miles per hour, and can kick in all directions with impressive force. But how often do they tell you what to actually do, should you encounter one?

The good news is that moose aren’t inherently aggressive creatures, just defensive ones. This means that most encounters can be de-escalated if handled with enough caution. Here is a handy checklist of things to do if you come across a moose.

  • Stay Away: If you see a moose, give it as much space as you can. Ideally, stay at least 50 feet away. Move the distance slowly and calmly, as to not startle the moose.
  • Look for Signs of Aggression: common signs include hair raising on the back of their neck, ears pinned back, and frequent lip licking. And of course, it’s facing directly at you.
  • Look for Calves: Young moose, not legs. Being near a mother moose’s young is a fast way to make them extremely aggressive. If you see a baby moose nearby, stay especially away from it.

Let’s say you were careful, but maybe they surprised you, and you it. Let’s assume that the moose is already attacking you. Here’s what you should do:

  • Run Away Quickly: Moose generally stop charging when you’ve been driven away far enough. They’re protecting territory, not looking to hunt. 
  • Use Cover: Run behind trees, rocks, walls, etc. Don’t leave a clean path right to you, keep stuff in your way. This will help slow the moose down.
  • If struck or cornered, protect your head and vital organs. If you have a chance to continue retreating, do so.

Play it smart. Play it carefully. You can save yourself an absolutely terrible time by exercising some caution.

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