Steamboat Springs It may not look like a threat, but it’s one of the most dangerous animals the public will encounter in Northwest Colorado, said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins.
On Friday afternoon, in a field that runs along Mount Werner Circle behind The Steamboat Grand, a pair of moose caught the attention of passing motorists, pedestrians and cyclists out to enjoy everything Northwest Colorado has to offer.
Turns out that when it comes to getting people to stop and take notice, this horse-like animal is a real show, or maybe more accurately, a real traffic stopper. On Friday afternoon, dozens of cars pulled to the side of the road to watch the moose. There also were a bike, a motorcycle and a scooter. In the span of 30 minutes, dozens of people were hoping to get close, some maybe a bit too close, to the majestic animals as they attempted to relax and have a bit to eat in the tall grass and brush in the area.
But Haskins said people need to be aware that while these formidable beasts look docile and uninterested as they go about their business, this is rarely the case.
“They are more dangerous than almost every other animal we deal with,” Haskins said while responding to the location Friday. “They are unpredictable and so fast.”
Haskins warns people to keep a good distance from a moose and added that the animal is nearly impossible to get away from when agitated. The animals have been known to charge and will use their hooves to stomp on anything they perceive as a threat. Dogs seem like predators to the moose, and Haskins advises people who come across a moose while walking their dog to do everything possible to create a wide path around the animals.
Haskins said the moose has very few real threats in the wild, and because of this, they almost have no fear of humans. He said moose will not run away when they are approached and may look as though they are not interested in what is going on around them.
But get too close and the animal is likely to lower its head, it may snort and when placed in a threatening situation, they will charge. The moose is a large, strong animal that can damage and kill, Haskins said.
In some cases, moose have been aggressive enough to attack cars, and the moose will ram the vehicle with its head. The animals also have been known to smash windshields with their hooves.
Haskins said the best way to view the animals is from a distance. He advises people not to create stressful situations for the animals. Moose always should have a clear path to safety, and if you are close enough to take a photograph with your cellphone, you are too close.
If the animal lowers its head, lays its ears back or starts snorting or making strange sounds, it is aggravated and is very dangerous.
“If you get too close, there is no chance that you will outrun this animal,” Haskins said. “They are simply way too fast, too aggressive and too dangerous.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com