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Fast and Furious

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Joe Tajan sent in this picture of a moose relaxing in a backyard pond.Pictures like these are best taken through glass (i.e., from inside the house) and/or with a long, telephoto lens. When moose feel threatened, they may choose “fight” over “flight Joe Tajan sent in this picture of a moose relaxing in a backyard pond.Pictures like these are best taken through glass (i.e., from inside the house) and/or with a long, telephoto lens. When moose feel threatened, they may choose “fight” over “flight

Although it's rare, moose will attack when they feel threatened. Just ask Drewe Dickson, who was knocked unconscious by a moose in her yard.

Today I read a book about moose, simply titled “Moose,” written by Scott Wrobel. He states so proficiently that encounters between moose and humans can have negative results.

You would think, right off the bat, that people would know this, right? I mean, a moose is the largest member of the deer family; a bull moose can actually stand up to seven and one half feet and sometimes be 10 feet in length. Females are typically smaller than males, but still, that is a formidable critter. Therefore, it would stand to reason, that one would steer clear of a meeting with a moose. Again, I ask, right?

However, Drewe Dickson of Hope didn’t think twice when her husband told her that momma moose and her twin calves were on their property again, as she had been for several months. Drewe grabbed her camera, hoping for a good photo opportunity.

“Hopie,” Drewe’s Airedale, and the momma moose had been engaged in playful animal activities, neither infringing on the other’s space, but very aware of their presence. Momma moose didn’t seem to mind Hopie too much, and had been spotted by both Dicksons several times. Imagine Drewe’s shock when she saw momma moose on the path in front of her, approximately 40 yards away. Before Drewe could back away, Momma moose charged her.

Drewe states, “I made a grave error in judgement when she came at me. I grabbed Hopie and hit the ground trying to play dead. I think, instead I should have ran and hid behind a tree, or put a tree between us at least.  

But Drewe played dead, and looking at her injuries, you realize how close to not playing dead she actually came.

A single blow from the leg of a moose can kill a wolf, a human and even a bear. To a moose, security is what life is about. Moose seldom attack, but when you do see one, if is turns its ears forward and then lowers them, that is a threatening signal.

Drewe is lucky her injuries are minimal, including a deep gash in her arm, still swollen after a week, and being knocked unconscious. She realizes it could have been much worse.

Drewe isn’t new to this area; she knows the woods and she is aware of the animals. She isn’t a “newbie” to North Idaho. Still, moose are unpredictable wild animals; no matter how many times they see you, it’s better to stay at a safe distance from them. They don’t act like deer, bolting at the mere sight of you. They will consider your appearance a challenge and react. They are fast and furious and, according to Drewe, she would rather have had Moose Drool in a bottle; at least then she would have been stepping on her own lips, instead of the moose stepping on them for her! What does Drewe consider a “safe distance?”—definitely more than 40 yards!

When moose, like most other mammals, feel threatened, their two choices are fight or flight. Luckily, in most cases they choose flight, but there are times when that doesn’t seem to be the best choice for a moose—for example, as when they have babies present.

Although moose attacks are considered to be rare, they happen often enough that anyone living in the same area should be aware of simple precautions, most of which can be boiled down to: don’t approach a moose. They’re a wild animal with no interest in making your acquaintance. Moose can be particularly aggressive when protecting young ones, or during the fall rut season.

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Author info

Jinx Beshears Jinx Beshears is a southern transplant to North Idaho, and shares her confusion with the Pacific Northwest Lifestyle in her column, Jinxed. When not writing, or living, her outlandish stories, she's generally lost somewhere in the mountains with her dog, Aspen.

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moose, outdoors, wildlife

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