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Meeting a Moose: Montana FWP shares safety tips

“Moose can be very dangerous,” said Jacobsen. “They run fast, and they have powerful legs, so you certainly don’t want to be in the way of that.”
Posted at 9:35 AM, Jul 10, 2023

They’re beautiful but dangerous. Spotting a moose near you while hiking or camping can trigger panic but there are plenty of things you can do to stay safe if you ever meet a moose.

“I think the fatal flaw is when people want to get out their phone, take a picture, and get way too close,” said FWP Communication and Education Program Manager Morgan Jacobsen.

In April, a video was posted on Facebook showing two men taunting a moose at a residential area in Big Sky.

In the video you can see the men standing extremely close to the moose, getting closer and closer until one of them reaches out to touch it.

It didn’t end well as the moose begin to trample one of the men before the video ends.

“Moose can be very dangerous,” said Jacobsen. “They run fast, and they have powerful legs, so you certainly don’t want to be in the way of that.”

Jacobsen says naturally, when folks see a wild animal, they want to snag a photo.

But watching from a distance or a safe place can save you and the animal from being seriously injured.

In fact, one man was camping in Big Sky on the 4th of July when a moose stumbled upon him.

Bozeman resident, Chris Jackson told us he was about to build a fire at his campsite when he heard leaves crunching.

A moose appeared from the forest and Jackson quickly hopped in his vehicle.

Once the moose laid down and got comfy, Jackson got out of his vehicle and did the same, sitting in a chair close to his vehicle just in case the moose got up.

He spent about two hours quietly admiring the gentle giant.

Jacobsen says he applauds how Jackson went out of his way to leave the moose undisturbed.

“Just keeping your distance and not putting the animal in a situation where it has to respond to you,” said Jacobsen.

But what if you accidentally take a moose by surprise and it charges you?

“What we recommend, is getting behind something solid, like a tree, a rock, or a big vehicle,” said Jacobsen.

And as fun as it is to get great pictures of wildlife…

“No photo is ever worth getting hurt,” said Jacobsen.