How you can avoid conflicts with moose in Utah

Jun 3, 2024, 5:31 PM | Updated: 5:38 pm

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources want you to be prepared with safety knowledge incase you co...

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources want you to be prepared with safety knowledge incase you come across a moose this summer in the backcountry. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY As the summer months have arrived, more and more people are going to be heading out into mountains to enjoy the great outdoors.

With an increased number of people in the backcountry, moose sightings will likely increase.

Before heading out, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources wants you to know how to respond incase you come across a moose.

What you need to know

There are between 2,500 and 3,000 moose in the state, according to the DWR. Typically, moose can be found along the Wasatch Front and in northern and northeastern Utah, normally in forested areas.

Adult moose can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Bull moose can stand as tall as 6 feet at the shoulders. Because of their enormous size, moose can become dangerous when they feel they are threatened.

“In my years of working with wildlife, I have dealt with bears, rattlesnakes, cougars and moose, and the only species that I’ve had turn and come back at me was a moose,” said Rusty Robinson, Once-In-A-Lifetime species coordinator for the DWR. “Because they are not predators, people often underestimate how aggressive moose can be.”

Adult moose can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Bull moose can stand as tall as 6 feet at the shoulders. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

Understanding moose behavior

According to the DWR, moose will become aggressive anytime they are threatened or cornered. Cows can especially be defensive when they have calves, which is normally late May to early June.

Moose can also be aggressive toward dogs. According to the DWR, moose view dogs as “natural predators” and don’t like them getting too close.

The DWR said there are four physical warning signs that a moose is about to get aggressive. Those signs are:

  • Lowering their head.
  • Hair standing up on the neck.
  • Licking their snout.
  • Pinning their ears back.

Safety tips

There are several ways to avoid a conflict with a moose. Those tips include:

  • Give the moose all the space it wants, and watch its behavior.
  • Do not attempt to approach or feed the animal.
  • Keeps dogs under control and on leashes at all times.
  • Stay calm. Make your presence known and slowly walk back the direction you came.
  • If a moose does charge at you, find something solid to get behind like a tree, or inside a car or building.
  • Roll up into a ball and protect your head, if a moose does knock you down.

Additional safety tips can be found here.

When to report a moose

The DWR said if a moose has wondered into heavily-populated areas, wildlife officers need to be notified so the animal can be relocated back into the mountains. They can cause injuries and property damage if they aren’t relocated from city limits.


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How you can avoid conflicts with moose in Utah