Moose Kicks Hiker After Charging at Him in Montana

A moose has kicked and injured a hiker in Montana after charging at him and his companion, state wildlife officials reported.

The incident occurred on January 27 near the town of Ennis in the southwest of the state, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP) said.

The two men, who are in their 70s, were hiking along U.S. Forest Service Trail 6317—popularly known popularly as the "Jack Creek Trail"—around 10 miles east of Ennis when they encountered a bull moose standing a few yards to the side of the path.

After spotting the two hikers—who have not been identified—the startled moose charged at them. In response, the men rushed to find a safe place to hide, with one standing behind a tree while the other took cover underneath a fallen tree.

The moose approached the man who hid under the tree and kicked him leaving the hiker with non-life threatening injuries.

The other hiker managed to scare the moose away without sustaining any injuries.

The injured hiker sought assistance at a local medical center, where he was given treatment and later released.

MFWP officials have placed warning signs at the entrance to the Jack Creek Trail, informing other hikers of the encounter.

Moose can be found across most of Montana, as well as in several other U.S. states. Their vast range in North America stretches across most of Canada and Alaska, as well as parts of northern New England, the Great Lakes region and other areas of the northern and western U.S. The largest moose live in Alaska, where males can weigh up to 1,700 pounds and grow antlers that measure nearly seven feet wide.

Moose, which are the largest and heaviest living species in the deer family, do not typically act aggressively towards humans. But they are unpredictable animals, with officials noting that they can become defensive and dangerous in "surprise close encounters" with people.

The MFWP advises hikers to take a number of precautions when walking in moose country:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and be especially careful around creeks and in areas with dense brush.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible and make casual noise to alert animals to your presence.
  • If you encounter a moose, give it lots of space and don't approach it. Keep dogs under control at all times.
  • If a moose charges or chases you, take cover behind something solid, such as a tree.
A moose
A stock image showing a moose. A hiker in Montana was injured after a surprise encounter with a moose. iStock