WENATCHEE - Fish and Wildlife crews are warning the public about the possibility of coming face-to-face with a moose in the Horan Natural Area in north Wenatchee.
Officials say a yearling cow moose has wandered into the area after leaving its mother as it usually does as it seeks new territory around a year old. Reports of the animal in the area have been frequent since July.
Authorities say the moose may seem docile but it can be a danger if not treated with caution and respect. To safeguard hikers, a section of the trail will close earlier than normal this year. Fish and Wildlife adds that moose are not easily spooked and do not fear humans. A minimum safe distance is at least 50 yards.
Fish and Wildlife provided the following tips to avoid an unsavory confrontation with the creature:
- Keep dogs on leashes and under control. Moose see dogs as predators and may act aggressively towards them.
- Females will defend calves aggressively, so give them a wide berth.
- Be aware of surroundings and avoid surprising a moose.
- If a moose reacts to your presence, you are too close.
- Take photos and watch moose only from a distance – at least 50 yards away.
- Always yield the trail to moose; do not approach them.
- If a moose approaches, back away immediately.
- Be warned that bulls will defend their territory at all times, with increased aggression during the fall mating season, late September through November.
Signs of aggression in moose include raised hair on the neck, lowering of the head and pinning the ears back, swaying back and forth, snorting and licking the snout.
If charged by a moose, get behind a large tree, rock, or other object if available, or run away if there is no cover available. If knocked down, get up quickly. If charged by a moose, report the incident to your regional WDFW office as soon as possible.
Moose prefer areas with forest, marshes, and wetlands. As of 2015, there were approximately 5,000 moose in Washington State, with the majority in the Selkirk Mountains and smaller populations in the north Cascades, Okanogan, and Blue mountains. Although they have declined substantially since then in the Selkirks, they appear to have increased in Okanogan and Chelan counties.