Video shows hikers' encounter with charging moose in Utah
OGDEN, Utah (KSTU) -- A group of hikers are still reliving some scary moments after an encounter with a charging moose on an Ogden Canyon trail Saturday morning that left them trapped and unable to get to safety.
One of the hikers caught the angry moose's charge on video and in pictures.
In the video, you can hear the hikers yelling, "He's coming!" as the cow moose barrels toward people on the trial along Wheeler Creek.
"She came down and she was like a steamroller," William Barba recounted. "When she came down, we only had seconds before she was right on us."
The hike was organized through Meetup.com, and they ended up with about 14 people snowshoeing and hiking in their group.
He said about a mile up the trail, one of the hiker's dogs ran up ahead and came across the moose.
"The member that had the dog that spooked the moose in the first place, he said something like, 'Moose is coming! Moose!'" Barba said. "That's all it took, and we dove off."
He said the moose charged past him and half of the group, and came running down toward the others who were about a half a mile behind.
"He came by me, and looked at me and snorted as he went by," David Vance said.
Vance was able to get out his camera and take pictures as the moose sped past, ears pinned back and hair raised on her back.
Chauntelle McAlhany, also hiking with the group, said the moose ran toward children hiking with others not in their group.
They jumped out of the way just in time. Then, she watched the moose trample over her dog, Bella.
"The moose just went right over the top of her, and somehow miraculously she didn't get hurt," McAlhany said.
She and the others said they all tried to back away and turn away back toward the parking area, but there was a problem.
The moose was now down the trail, and wouldn't leave the area--blocking their way to safety.
"We were stuck, we were cold we wanted to get back down to our car, and it was the only way," McAlhany said. "There's no way to go around the moose, it's a narrow trail."
They said the moose charged at least three separate times in all, while the group hunkered down in the snow off of the trail and tried to stay away.
After reviewing the photos and video, Phil Douglass with the Department of Wildlife Resources said he recognized the classic behavior.
"This moose is putting on a bluff charge," Douglass explained. "It's a stress response to scare away danger."
He said what the hiking group experienced is bound to happen more often this winter.
"We've had a heavy snowfall in the last few weeks, it's moving the animals down," he said. "The animals are going to places where it's easy to walk, like a well-traveled trail."
He said it's important hikers and snowshoers take extra precautions and know how to handle this situation.
When coming across wildlife on a trail, he said the best measure is to slowly back away and keep as much distance from the animal as possible.
If, like the Meetup hiking group, there is no clear way to safety, he said do exactly like they did: stay in place and wait it out.
Douglass said that will mean carrying extra food, water and supplies, and wearing the proper clothing.
Eventually, McAlhany and Vance were able to hike back down to their cars, but Barba and the others--who were further up the trail--spent an extra two hours hiking up the trail even more to reach the road in a round-about way.
The Meetup group said they and all the others on the trail did make it out safely, and while they handled the charging moose the best they could, they'll definitely be prepared in case this happens again.