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Charging moose traps hikers on snowy Utah trail

By
Ben Hooper

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A group of hikers in Utah ended up temporarily stranded on a trail by a moose that repeatedly charged at them aggressively.

William Barba, who organized the hike on MeetUp.com, said he and about 13 others were hiking and snowshoeing Saturday on an Ogden Canyon trail when a dog brought by one of the hikers ran ahead and discovered the moose about a mile down the trail.

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"The member that had the dog that spooked the moose in the first place, he said something like, 'Moose is coming! Moose!'" Barba told KSTU-TV. "That's all it took, and we dove off."

"She came down and she was like a steamroller," Barba said. "When she came down, we only had seconds before she was right on us."

Another member of the hiking group, Dave Vance, posted photos and video of the moose to Facebook.

The video shows the moose chasing a member of the group who apparently got too close.

"He came by me, and looked at me and snorted as he went by," Vance said.

Hiker Chauntelle McAlhany said the moose charged at some children with a different group of hikers before seemingly attempting to trample her dog, Bella, who managed to dodge the moose's hooves.

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"The moose just went right over the top of her, and somehow miraculously she didn't get hurt," McAlhany said.

McAlhany said the hikers soon realized the moose was blocking their path back to where they had parked.

"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."

Vance and McAlhany were eventually able to get around the moose and back to the parking area, but Barba and others who were further up the trail had to hike another two hours to take a more roundabout way back.

The group said the moose charged them about three times.

Phil Douglass with the Department of Wildlife Resources said the moose was apparently trying to chase away the humans, which she perceived as dangerous, but not actually hurt them.

"This moose is putting on a bluff charge," Douglass said. "It's a stress response to scare away danger."

He warned hikers to be prepared for similar situations.

"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."

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