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A YouTube video, embedded below, of a snowmobile chasing a moose on a trail in Grand County, Colo., prompted the Colorado Division of Wildlife to issue warnings about interacting with moose and other wildlife. The public education campaign is primarily aimed at snowmobilers and snowmobile rental companies. Wildlife officials say they're seeing too many videos like the YouTube offering that show people chasing and harassing moose while riding snowmobiles. "Moose don't behave like deer or elk," says DOW Area Wildlife Manager Lyle Sidener. "You can't 'shoo' them off a trail. Moose don't see people as threats and they will stand their ground, or possibly attack."

Moose Vs. Snowmobile Videos Prompt Warnings From Colorado Wildlife Officials

A YouTube video, embedded below, of a snowmobile chasing a moose on a trail in Grand County, Colo., prompted the Colorado Division of Wildlife to issue warnings about interacting with moose and other wildlife.

The public education campaign is primarily aimed at snowmobilers and snowmobile rental companies. Wildlife officials say they’re seeing too many videos like the YouTube offering that show people chasing and harassing moose while riding snowmobiles.

“Moose don’t behave like deer or elk,” says DOW Area Wildlife Manager Lyle Sidener. “You can’t ‘shoo’ them off a trail. Moose don’t see people as threats and they will stand their ground, or possibly attack.”

In the video, attributed to an account publicly named “dougsheri,” the snowmobile chases the moose at a high rate of speed. At one point, the animal turns around and appears to charge the camera. Other posts on YouTube and MySpace show similar encounters with moose.

Although officials say it’s unclear where some of the videos were shot, at least one of them was taken in Grand County. No one was reported to have been injured, but officials are concerned that behavior like this could lead to injuries or death of moose and snowmobilers.

Moose sightings on snowmobile trails are common this time of year because it’s easier for them to travel on packed snow rather than the deep snow found in the high country. If a snowmobiler encounters a moose on a trail, DOW officials advise the best course of action is to go around the animal and stay as far away as possible. Trying to force it off the trail could lead to an attack.

If a moose attacks, it can be a life-threatening situation. Although moose have shed their antlers by this time of year, their hooves are their primary defense and they will kick and stomp on any perceived threat. Although attacks are rare, several people in Colorado have been injured by moose, including one fatality in 2005.

The best way to avoid a moose attack is to keep your distance. But in case of an encounter, Sidener has some suggestions for backcountry travelers.

“If you see a moose put its head down and pin its ears back, it’s a sign that an attack is likely. Put a tree, large rock or other big object between yourself and the moose, and get out of there as soon as you can,” Sidener advises.

If you are attacked, DOW officials recommend standing up if you are knocked down, and fighting back. Another suggestion: if you have your dog with you, keep it in your control at all times while in the backcountry. Moose do not distinguish dogs from wolves, their primary predator in the wild, and will aggressively attack. Dogs often run to their owners for safety and that can bring an angry, thousand-pound moose into conflict with people.

The growth and spread of moose populations, an increase in the number of people enjoying Colorado’s backcountry and advances in video technology are some of the factors that may have led to the increase in moose encounters and videotaped wildlife harassment, according to Regional Manager Ron Velarde.

“We will not tolerate harassment of wildlife and we hope that education will be enough to stop it,” Velarde said. People need to understand that harassing wildlife is dangerous, unethical and against the law. If I had seen some of these incidents in person, I would have been writing tickets to those involved.”

Sidener adds, “A snowmobile can be an excellent way to see Colorado’s backcountry, but people need to take some precautions when they encounter wildlife.”

Sidener reminds anyone who encounters wildlife to view it from a distance and, “Don’t feed, don’t approach and don’t harass.” In other words, don’t do this:

About Jule Banville

Comments

  1. dave smith says:

    Back in the 60s, Glacier Park ranger Art Sedlak shot a snowmobile in the heart. He shot the machine in the engine, not the rider. The Montana Wilderness Association still gives an annual Art Sedlak award to a deserving conservationist.

    Bubbleheads. Is it any wonder people want bubbleheads on snowmobiles banned from Yellowstone.

  2. damon says:

    Do you want to be a real man? Face that moose on your two feet with nothing but your bare hands. Please give me the names of these cowards.

  3. Kayt says:

    I think this is a real bad example of animal abuse. My family snowmobiles and we have a population of moose in the area.

    The protocol is to stop immediately if there is a moose in the road. If the animal is not inclined to move then we turn the sleds around if we cannot take an alternate route around it.

    Winter is so hard on these guys. I wish people wouldn’t consider them a ‘snow sport’. If someone wants to come to Idaho and chase moose, don’t. We don’t watch them grow to have some idiot run them to death. We have enough to worry about with the wolves. And besides. One guy tried it once and the bull turned around, came up behind him, managed to bite and shatter his elbow. Needless to say,the guy didn’t try that again.

  4. Kayt says:

    How can you do that? Sometimes they are from out of state, don’t recognize the sleds, the helmets, jackets, backpacks. It’s just easier to pull them off their sleds, mess with them and make their lives a living hell til they get back to the trail head. Lots of times it’s easy to get a license number off the truck or trailer, other times not so easy. Creeps.

  5. Kayt says:

    Oh, and then, our fish and game (we fondly call them IFANG) are not the most responsive individuals on the planet.

  6. Tim says:

    Moose abuse? Oh come on. The snowmobile didn’t strike the moose, taunt it, or anything. The moose got some exercise, that’s all. Kelly, do you really mean it that it would be ok to shoot someone doing this?? Ok, you need help. Its what experts call visibility bias… you see something like this and think it happens all the time. Now consider how many people on snowmobiles don’t do this. You get a nut doing lots of things… liberals will want to ban snowmobiles now because of one nut! Please keep things in perspective. Are moose covered by Obamacare? Maybe it can file lawsuit against the snowmobiler, see a therapist and take time off of work now…

  7. inkwelz says:

    If you won’t rewrite your headline, I’d strongly suggest that the next time you write about this issue, your headline should accurately reflect the problem here:

    This is NOT about moose vs. snowmobiles, but rather, about idiot yahoo snowmobilers vs. moose.

  8. Not that Tim says:

    Tim (who commented about this not being an issue on 3-11) needs to look seriously at what he is saying. How is riding directly behind the moose not “taunting” it? Did you notice the high rate of speed, and the way the moose finally turns toward the rider? That was the moose trying to get this joker off its tail, the same defensive actions moose take when chased by wolves. How is this rider not “taunting” the moose?
    Come on, call it what it is — some yahoo on a sled getting his kicks by harassing a moose.
    Winter is hard enough on Montana game animals, without human interference like this. As a lifelong hunter, hiker, skier and general outdoor fanatic, this kind of behavior is wrong, on every level, and no one in their right mind can show otherwise.
    Don’t treat it so casually–your comments truly show your ethics, which are now suspect to say the least.

  9. Raven says:

    My only request, all of you. Consider this is just one stupid idiot on a snowmobile. Not all snowmobilers are like that. Blanket statements about people are hard to back up.

    Dave Smith: I dare you to come to Yellowstone and take a snowmobile tour with me. You’ll learn quickly that I have more respect and care more for the wildlife than your average snowcoach driver, tourist, AND cross-country skier. NPS studies have even shown that a snowmobile tour passing animals on the road is less disruptive than snowcoaches and seriously less disruptive than skiers!

    Surprised?

  10. sunshyn24 says:

    Not saying it’s all snowmobilers, but usually if there’s one person doing it, there are a few more behind them, so for those saying “it’s just one person, it’s just one person” – re-read the article where it alludes to numerous similar posts on you-tube….then take all of your misplaced indignation and turn it towards the offenders who are giving you a bad name….

  11. Kayt says:

    Where I live, all of our ungulate herds have taken a big hit from wolves. To see an animal being herded down the road like this is abuse. Neither moose, nor elk, nor deer are flight animals. They simply don’t run for long distances for a long time. In winter they must conserve any energy they have just to find food to exist.

    We are a big snowmobile community here and we enjoy getting out in the mountains. But there is not a person among us who will tolerate this kind of harassment against what few animals we have left.

  12. spudboater says:

    Next time I hope the moose turns around, chases him down and gores him. And why hasn’t the state of Colorado prosecuted this moron for wildlife harassment? There aren’t a lot of moose in Colorado to begin with. This guy should have his snow machine impounded and his license to drive anything suspended.

    And Kayt, our wildife aren’t taking huge hits from wolves. A moose will kick the crap out of a wolf actually, and pretty much anything else that gets in its way. I’ve seen it here in Idaho, and I’ve yet to see a wolf take down a moose, and very few large cattle for that matter. 800 to 1000 pounds and up is no match for a wolf. Calves are different, as are sheep. Just sayin.

  13. Kayt says:

    I live on the St. Joe River in North Idaho and I’m telling you a wolf may kick the crap outa one but he is no match for a pack of wolves. I am not unaccustomed to seeing wolf kill including moose ribs, legs,bodies, and yeah, the wolves are all over up here. Not one of us goes out without a gun anymore and we don’t let our pets/kids go out without supervision.

    I can get a picture of 5 wolves pulling down a huge bull moose. So factually your information is incorrect. We see it up here daily. Cripe, we shot a wolf across the road from our house that was chasing the neighbors cat, and they’ve been in town due to weather. Yes, IFG know about it, and deemed it justified.

    so again, we are very protective of wildlife here, and as I said before, we didn’t watch them grow to have some half wit chase around in 6 feet of snow on a snowcat and kill them from stress.

  14. Snowmobiler says:

    As an avid snowmobiler, there is no place for that behavior or any reason for anyone on a snowmobile, on foot, on a bicycle or a car to chase a moose. Just another case of a person who didn’t exercise reasonable and decent behavior. It no more indicts all snowmobilers than it would indict all Catholics if the person was a Catholic.

  15. the real mike says:

    Skinner, what would the snowmobiler have needed to do to prompt you assess the behavior as inappropriate in this instance?

  16. Iris says:

    This is disgusting. I think someone should chase this idiot thru the snow WITHOUT his snowmobile and run over him a couple of times. Hope he rots in a jail cell…I want to see charges brought against this idiot and stick. HUGE fine and jail time!!

  17. Mike says:

    I recognize the road as a forest service road above where I grew up in Fraser, Colorado. Yes, there a quite a few moose in that area, and yes they are as surly and aggressive as moose everywhere. The snowmobiler should have slowed and let the animal pass, but like most who have posted above I believe this is an just a misjudgment of one person in a wildlife/human interaction which is fairly common in urban forests like that in Fraser Valley.

  18. Dave Skinner says:

    Okay, Mike, let me go a little further. I WORKED on the Alaska Railroad, and bootlegged lots of train rides (great fishing access, youbetcha). Even in the height of summer, moose really, really like that groomed trail. And don’t like being pushed off their Royal Route, no matter how much you toot the horns.
    I was repeatedly amazed at how stubborn, even stupid, moose can be. Out of maybe 20 moose on the tracks, five didn’t yield for at least a mile, and one met the snowplow (at about 15 MPH) and got booted into the brush, then ran off with all four legs going.
    Never mind the home movies (this is well before Youtube days) of various and sundry moose “chases,” including one where the engineer stopped the train just short of one of those plowed-out wide spots and then tried to creep past hoping the moose would move over, right. Nah. The moose stopped, between the rails. Engineer creeps train up to moose. Moose butts engine. Engineer toots and throttles up. Moose runs up main line.
    Few miles later, the moose turned and charged. Crunch. crackle crackle.

  19. BeckyJ says:

    Katt, I snowmobile in an area with moose too. We follow the same protocol you do. When we see them we stop immediately. Usually one will walk up and check us out. We sit quietly and wait for them to move. Our favorite moose was killed by wolves 2 summers ago. She had her twins ripped from her body. I turned the site in to Fish and Game and they confirmed that it was a wolf kill. We really miss seeing her with her twins at our cabin.

    We too have snowmobilers we wish would find another winter sport to pursue. We try to educate those we take out to respect wildlife as we do.

    You might want to think twice about shooting at a snowmobiler. A lot of us ride with firearms when we’re in wolf territory. We don’t go to shoot wolves, but will protect ourselves if attacked.

  20. dave smith says:

    Raven–I’ll decline on your offer for a snowmobile tour; during the years I WORKED in the interior of Yellowstone during the winter, I rode far more miles on a snowmobile than I care to remember. This was long before bison and elk habituated to snowmobiles. Critters got a break between the closing of the roads to cars at the end of October, and the start of bubblehead/snowmobile season in mid-December. Bison and elk were terrified when bubbleheads arrived in mid-December. They scattered.

    The so-called NPS “research” you mention is actually subjective opinion that compares the reaction of bison thorougly habituated to snowmobiles traveling 100% predictable routes on roads to the reaction of non-habituated bison to random use in random places by x-c skiers.

    It’s a bogus comparison. You can habituate bison to x-c skiers, too. The larger question is, is this a good thing to do? Based on my experience, my subjective opinion is, non-habituated bison didn’t react as strongly to skiers as non-habituated bison reacted to bubbleheads on snowmobiles.

    History didn’t begin in the late 1990′s when the NPS required snowmobile nannies like yourself to keep the bubbleheads under control in YNP. You wouldn’t have a job if bubbleheads on snowmobiles weren’t bubbleheads.

  21. BeckyJ says:

    When you see bison on the trail in Yellowstone you stop. Then they walk right up to you. I’m sure I was more afraid than they were. That was before we “bubbleheads” were required to have guides.

  22. dave smith says:

    Becky–Bubbleheads riding snowmobiles in Yellowstone are required to stick to the roads, you’re not allowed on “trails.” The reason bubbleheads on snowmobiles are required to have nannies like “raven” is to keep you on the roads and off the trails. Bubbleheads on snowmobiles have proven they need nannies to keep them on the roads and off of sidehills, meadows, and trails where snowmobiling is illegal. Without snowmobile nannies, bubbleheads on snowmobiles run amok. Twenty years of evidence is irrefutable. The NPS has to waste taxpayer money paying government employees to criss-cross snow stakes on every sidehill to keep bubbleheads on snowmobiles from going off-road, chasing bison, etc. Bubbleheads on snowmobiles have behaved like louts for decades; now you’re shocked that reasonable people don’t want you in the park. Geez.

  23. BeckyJ says:

    Sorry, Dave. I’m just a bubbleheaded snowmobiler and think of the roads as groomed trails during the winter months. I was not off the “road”. I wouldn’t want you to lose sleep over thinking a person might have gotten off the groomed route without a guide. I managed to stay on the groomer routes without a guide and was not chasing biosn, never have, never will. I think those of us who snowmobile do so to get away from jerks like you.

  24. dave smith says:

    Todd–”ordinary” people don’t need nannies to herd them on the road and keep them from going bonkers and chasing wildlife and roaring around illegally off road. Only bubbleheads on snowmobiles have proven they need nannies to prevent such childish, moronic behavior in a national park filled with wildlife struggling to survive the winter. As the video that sparked this article clearly illustrates, jerks on snowmobiles are a problem for moose and other wildlife.

    If so many snowmobilers weren’t jerks, they wouldn’t need nannies to escort them thru Yellowstone. This ain’t a case of one bad apple. Decades of experience in Yellowstone has proven bubbleheads on snowmobiles are a rotten bunch.

    Bubbleheads on snowmobiles had their chance in Yellowstone for at least two decades. Bubbleheads blew it. End of story. There’s just no defense for the atrocious behavior of bubbleheads.

  25. dave smith says:

    Bubbleheads in Yellowstone are not “ordinary people;” they have an extraordinarily bad record. That’s why they need snowmobile nannies to herd them thru the park and prevent them from harassing wildlife are roaring around–illegally–off road. If many of the bubbleheads are locals with families, they should not have gone loco. They’re being shut out because they deserved it. They behaved like dunderheads. Apologies don’t count. Words don’t matter. Actions count. Deeds matter. Bubbleheads on snowmobiles have proved by their deeds and actions that they don’t belong in Yellowstone National Park.

  26. dave smith says:

    Bubbleheads on snowmobiles harassing wildlife in Yellowstone and going off-road whenever possible on less polluting machines only makes sense to bubbleheads.

  27. Raven says:

    Dave: Have you BEEN to Yellowstone in the summer?!? I’ve seen more animal harassment and more serious harassment by “ordinary” people in the summer than ever in winter.

    As for the research, it actually did not include x-c skiers. That’s merely anecdotal & side note-ish. And do not forget. x-c skiers (of which I am one) are allowed anywhere they can ski. Snowmobiles are allowed only on the roads. When doing any such study, you have to consider such things.

    Another side note: it takes weeks, if not days, for bison and elk to become habituated to anything they commonly see. Hence, whenever it was you were in Yellowstone, you were seeing habituated animals.

  28. reality22 says:

    One more thing…… what the driver of this machine did was unquestionably wrong!

  29. dave smith says:

    OK, I’ve figured out what we need for snowmobile nannies and the people they herd around Yellowstone Park.

    The nannies should wear snowmobile suits with black bottoms and black and white stripes on top like a sports referee. Of course their helmet, gloves, boots, and snowmobile should match. Bubbleheads love to accessorize. They’re big on fashion. The referee look is perfect. No mandatory requirements for sunglasses, purses, or cell phones.

    Just as children learning to drive sometimes tool around in cars with a sign warning “student driver,” we need to be able to identify the tourists being herded around by snowmobile nannies.

    One, tourists being escorted by snowmobile nannies should be required to wear jet black snowmobile suits with white diapers worn outside their suits.

    Two, the visors on their helmets should have a large pacifier attached.

  30. Ann says:

    Minimally his license to have a snowmobile should be rescinded!

  31. Kelly says:

    My friend Aubrie Mindock was attacked by a moose in Breckenridge CO while hiking on the snowflake trailhead that heads up to the BOEC lake. The moose left her with back injuries, injuries to her legs as well as injuries to her right arm. She is lucky to be alive and that the moose did not do anymore damage.

  32. Becky says:

    I remember getting the text message, “Moose attacked, Bailey missing.” These were the words from Aubrie Mindock’s cell phone after she had been almost killed by an angry bull moose. Her mother Claire was hiking far behind Aubrie and was able to get in the trees but Aubrie was not as lucky.

    She was hiking in Breckenridge, CO when the accident happened. It was about 9:45 when I got the frantic text messages. “Do I call 911? I’m hurt but I don’t know how bad. I don’t know where the moose went. What if it comes back? I can’t find my dog. I think she is dead.”

    Aubrie said the attack happened so quick. She stated that she did not even know the moose was there and all of a sudden she was on the ground being kicked around like a rag doll.

    After the attack I told Aubrie that she should report it but she said, “I don’t want it to be killed. If I report it the cops will have to kill it.” I told her that the moose would be fine and that she needed to get help immediatly.

    Today Aubrie and her dog are fine and alive. Her mother is thankful that she got both her daughter and dog back alive. Moose are dangerous animals and should be respected. We all need to be aware of our surroundings when going out in moose territory. Try not to hike in areas where there have been lots of moose sightings. Moose are fun to see but just be aware.

  33. anonymous says:

    Good for Aubrie that she didn’t want the moose to be put down but a moose that is aggressive like that maybe should be put down. I actually looked Aubrie up and it seems that the attack was unprovoked. I am glad that Aubrie is doing well today and best of luck to her and her family.

    As for the guy in the article, that is animal abuse. Animal harassment is awful and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  34. Kayt says:

    Why does anyone mess around with a wild animal?

    Moose are fun to watch, but at a distance.

    She got what she deserved.

  35. Kayt says:

    Just so everyone knows! If you chase any ungulate in the forest in deep snow for any distance, the ungulate uses up it’s winter store of fat.

    Snocatters,Atv’ers cannot chase these animals. They have only the fat on their back, and it has to last them all fricking winter. It is not ok to chase any game.

    Cripes, come to my house and watch them starve. It is brutal. And before you castigate me, I do feed during the winter.

    But we have the occasional animal who can’t feed. It is not fun, and I’ve had to shoot the almost dead ones. I hate it.

  36. Walid says:

    Good reorpt Mr. Supreme Master Trail Boss and it sounds like everyone had a good time. I really like the movie Mr. President presented and I realize there is no limit to his talent’s. I learned this morning that this years Sierra Snow pack is 740 inches, that’s 66 feet . looks like we will be in for an interesting year of wheeling.