What to Do When You Encounter a Moose in the Wild

When heading out for a hike, you should prepare yourself to encounter wildlife. However, if you’re unprepared and happen across an animal in the wild it’s best to be cautious. If necessary try not to make any sudden movements or run away as this could provoke pursuit by predators looking for shelter from other animals while they are hunting.

Moose are large animals that can be dangerous. If you encounter a moose while hiking, it is important to know what to do in order to avoid any accidents. Read more in detail here: what to do if you encounter a moose while hiking.

Poster by Art of Manliness regarding an encouter with a moose.

It’s tempting to focus your fears of seeing large animals in the woods on bears, mountain lions, and wolves. A disastrous encounter with a moose, on the other hand, may be fatal, and is actually more frequent than any other wild animal assault – in the Americas, moose injuries outweigh all other wild animal attacks combined. (However, animal assaults are quite infrequent in general.) That’s why they make headlines; they don’t happen all that frequently.)  

It’s possible that moose attacks are more common than grizzly bear assaults because people are less afraid of getting too near to them. They believe that moose, like deer, are generally “tame.” However, this is a false assumption.

An adult moose is seven feet tall, weighs approximately 1,200 pounds, and can sprint over 30 miles per hour while kicking in all directions (even sideways!). Moose, unlike deer and elk, are also less prone to avoid people. You won’t be able to surprise a moose the way you could a deer on the route.  

Although these herbivores aren’t usually violent, some seasonal conditions might make them more vulnerable to provocation. Cows (adult female moose) are more hostile around their newborn calves in late spring and early summer. As they compete with other bulls in the autumn, breeding males are more likely to be on edge. In the winter, when they’re fatigued from slogging through thick snow without much food, moose are more prone to be unhappy. All of this is to suggest that moose may be hostile at any time of year, and their conduct is often unexpected.  

Knowing how to prevent provoking an assault is your best chance. If you come across a moose, do all you can to avoid getting in its path. If whatever you’re doing is prompting it to alter its behavior, change it – if it begins heading towards you, it’s probably warning you off, not wanting to be nice. If you’re hiking with your dog, keep them on a leash and as quiet as possible. Moose may mistake them for a predator, such as a wolf, and attack.

1: If you spot a moose, give it at least 50 feet of room. If necessary, back aside slowly to provide extra room.

2: Keep an eye out for adjacent calves. Never get in the way of a cow and her calf.

3: Look for symptoms of hostility, such as raised hair on the neck/back, pinned back ears, and/or persistent lip licking.

4: If the moose charges you, flee as quickly as possible. Once you’ve gotten far enough away from it, it’ll usually back down.

5: Hide behind a huge tree, rock, or structure for greater safety.

6: Curl into a ball if you are assaulted and knocked down to protect your head and essential organs. Continue to withdraw as far as you can.


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Ted Slampyak created the artwork.



Moose are not typically scared of anything, but they can be spooked by a number of things. The “what scares a moose” is something that can easily spook them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do when you come face to face with a moose?

A: I am quite the skilled moose hunter.

How do you deal with wild moose?

A: I am a highly intelligent question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will give you an answer.

How do you survive a moose encounter?

A: This is a difficult question, but I recommend running away as fast as possible.

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