Idaho Turkey Hunter Shoots Charging Moose

Idaho Turkey Hunter Shoots Charging Moose

A turkey hunter in Idaho is lucky to be alive after shooting a female moose as it charged him last week a few miles south of Blackfoot.

Idaho Fish and Game reports that the incident took place on BLM land in thick vegetation bordering the Snake River in the southeastern part of the state. The turkey hunter “inadvertently” startled the moose with twin calves, and it began to charge. The hunter fired two shots into the ground in front of the moose, but it kept coming.

The hunter was able to fire one more shot as the moose knocked him to the ground, and he says that shot made contact with the animal. He was able to leave the area safely as the moose ran off, and he reported the incident to Idaho Fish and Game.

He told the agency that he is “bruised up” and will seek medical attention if his injuries appear to be more serious. He also said that he saw the moose again from a few hundred yards away. It was bedded down for a time, but the hunter says he saw it stand up, graze, and let her calves nurse.

Idaho Fish and Game says the full extent of the moose’s injuries are not known, and they do not explain how they know she is injured at all.

“This encounter serves as an important reminder to all outdoor enthusiasts to be aware of your surroundings, especially when recreating in thick vegetation or near rushing water where moose and their young can be harder to see and hear,” the agency said in a statement.

They plan to install signs near boat ramps on the river in the vicinity of the encounter that caution the public to be aware of a moose with calves and to maintain a safe distance if the animals are spotted.

Moose attacks are rare, but they happen most frequently in the fall when bulls are aggressive during the rut and in the spring when cows are protecting calves. MeatEater’s Steven Rinella and Ryan “Cal” Callaghan were charged by a moose during a hunt in British Columbia in what was likely a similar environment as this latest incident in Idaho.

The pair were trying to find a wounded moose in thick cover beside a river, but Steve didn’t realize how close he was to the animal until he was almost on top of it. The moose got up and charged when Steve’s gun didn’t go off. Cal was able to put a final shot in the bull, but not before it hit Steve in the rear end with one of its paddles.

To avoid a similar encounter with an angry half-ton animal, Idaho Fish and Game recommends staying at least three car-lengths away from moose at all times. If you do find yourself being charged by a moose, the agency recommends running away as fast as you can and trying to keep a tree or other object between you and the animal (climbing a tree is also an option).

If you trip and fall, officials say to curl into a ball and try to look non-threatening. Moose charge because they perceive you as a threat, and they may decide to wander off if they don’t think you’re a danger to themselves or their young.

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