Why Are Moose So Aggressive?

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Sometimes you are walking in the woods and you stumble onto a raging bull moose. It looks aggressive and may make you wonder, why are moose so aggressive? While this is not entirely true, as it is, moose are typically not aggressive animals towards people. But if you provoke a moose the outcome can be devastatingly brutal. 

Are they Really Aggressive?

Unlike the deer, moose are not afraid of humans, and when you come face to face with one, they will not run. However much their lack of fear and docile nature makes them appear, never be tempted to go and pet them, play with them, or feed them. Moose like most animals, feel the need to defend their territories and young ones especially when they feel threatened. Are moose more dangerous than buffaloes? Find out here!

Most people also feel that moose are slow because their face appears bored and their nature oozes laziness. It is shocking that they can run up to 30 mph, therefore you can never outrun a charging moose. A common moose attack entails knocking you over with its more than 1200 pound weight, then trampling you to a pulp when on the ground. 

The good news is that moose are solitary animals, and nonaggressive so you won’t be facing a wild moose pack. Some tips can make you avoid a confrontation with a moose should you encounter one in the woods.  Here are our tips for avoiding a moose attack while you enjoy the great outdoors.

When are Moose Most Aggressive to Humans?

Not so many people have encountered a raging moose, and will not know what to do should they see one. The question most rookie hunters ask me, is how do you know when it is time to back off from a moose? While moose can attack you, it sometimes ignores you and the reason may be linked to the time of the year. 

However, it is essential to understand that moose can get aggressive at any time of the year. Occasionally there are some particular seasons when they will be more aggressive compared to others. You should take note of the crucial seasons of moose before you decide to confront one. Moose are typically aggressive during the following seasons:

In Late Spring and Early Summer

It is the period when a cow moose feels her very young calf is always in constant danger. It might be from previous attacks from predators and therefore the moose will not take any chances with their young. 

In the Fall

The fall marks the period when bull moose are competitive and always spurring with other males. They can become easily agitated and will often attack at the slightest provocation. During winter, moose are also agitated easily because they get tired from walking on the deep snow. Winter also marks a period when they are constantly hungry as there are scarce resources and food.

When the hunting season for moose opens, they tend to be aggressive as well. Usually, because they are often harassed by humans who are hunting them. 

When They are Sick

Moose sometimes suffer from a severe infection called brain worm. It is common for the North American moose and it often makes them less fearful of humans and therefore more likely to attack.

How to Tell That a Moose is Going to Attack You

Sometimes when you are out in the woods and you are likely to encounter a moose you should know whether it is aggressive or calm. It can be the difference between being charged at and trampled upon or safe passage. 

Signs to Watch out For

There are various warning signs you should be denoted from a moose’s behavior as it could be the only way to avoid danger. Here are the signs:

  • Tossing its head upwards like the way you would see a horse do
  • Raising the hair around its neck, hump, or hips
  • If the moose was eating, it could suddenly stop and stare at you
  • The moose licks or smacks its lips while clicking its teeth
  • Urinating
  • Lowering the head and then starting to walk towards your direction
  • The moose starts to display only the white parts of its eyes
  • Stomping its feet
  • Laying its ears back 
  • Grunting

These are all signs that a moose may attack you. But sometimes a moose may just decide to charge at you without warning or showing any of these signs at all. It is because moose are sometimes moody and their behavior can change abruptly. Sometimes they might appear calm, but you should not let this fool you. 

The best way to avoid a confrontation with a moose is to walk away in the opposite direction while focusing on it until you are at a safe place.

The Best Moose Safety Practices

Most areas inhabited by moose are ideal vacation and holiday spots for people that love adventure and the outdoors. When you live in moose territory, you must practice and know the various moose safety and precautions. The best way to avoid a moose attack is to avoid putting yourself in situations that may make a moose aggressive. 

Moose are easily irritable despite their calm demeanor. The following tips may spare you the aggressive nature of a moose should you encounter one while hunting or enjoying the great outdoors. 

Always Watch Moose from a Safe Distance

Give them their space. In case you come across one, it is vital that you remain calm and consider changing directions or backing off slowly. Moose are huge but they are also somewhat nervous creatures. If they feel that you are infringing on their territory or getting too close they can become stressed and resort to aggression to wade you off.

It is a common observation that if you cause the moose to change its behavior, you are too close and therefore you should keep your distance. A safe distance is one that can allow you to rush and take cover behind the nearest tree before the moose gets to you. 

Don’t Feed a Moose 

When moose get used to feeding they tend to get aggressive when they lack food. There is no telling at whom they will direct their aggression towards as they attack even those that do not feed it. In some states, feeding moose is a misdemeanor and it is punishable by a jail term or a fine. 

Before feeding or baiting a moose, ensure that you understand the laws of the area where you are hunting moose. 

Never Walk between a Cow Moose and Her Calf

Sometimes you may never realize it and just walk in between cow moose and its calf. If this happens, you should back away immediately before it charges at you. Mothers can be overbearing and instinctive when it comes to protecting their young.

There are More Moose to Vehicle Collisions than from Actual Attacks

If a moose happens to cross your path while you are driving, just let it cross. The moose may attack your car if you try to hurry or harass it to cross. In places that are inhabited by moose always drive slowly at night to avoid collisions as it can be fatal to both parties.

Keep Your Dog Close or on a Leash

Moose often confuse dogs for wolves, a natural predator. Keep any dogs away from them. Moose especially dislike dogs because they run up and bark at them.

If you come across a moose, show respect. Don’t make loud noises, chase, or harass the moose. For that reason, it’s important to not throw anything at moose

What to Do if You are Attacked by a Moose

Back off and Run

If you recognize the signs of moose aggression there are some things you can do to keep yourself safe. The obvious solution is to back off and run. Create a distance between you and the moose by finding a barrier that hides you from its sight. 

Curl Up in a Ball

If a moose attacks and knocks you to the ground, curl up into a ball. It may kick or stomp at you but if you curl up in a fetal position you protect both your head and vital organs. If you react by moving and trying to escape as it stomps at you, it will only make it more aggressive. 

Never Get Up until the Moose Moves a Safe Distance from You

The reason is that the aggression might still be pending and hence force the moose to launch another attack on you. Although moose can outrun humans at their top speeds, many times, they won’t chase you far if you run away from them. 

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The good news is that a moose is lazy. Mostly, it just eats. Despite their mass, moose are herbivores, and this makes them more prey than predators. As a result, odds are, if you run from a moose, it will probably not chase you — at least not for long. Be aware that while a moose might try to attack with its antlers, it often uses its front hooves to ward off predators. A moose can kick both sideways and straight ahead, so always keep plenty of distance between you and the moose, even if it has already given up its charge.

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