The leaves are changing colors on the mountain side which means Fall is on the doorstep. It also means moose are in their mating season, which is known as the rut. KPCW has received reports of dangerous human interactions with moose near one of Park City’s popular hiking trails. Carolyn Murray has this:
During the summer months, moose can be quite docile. Mama’s with calves are always a concern but when the autumn arrives, so are the bulls. Mountain Trails Executive Director, Charlie Sturgis received a phone call from an Iron Mountain home owner concerned about erratic moose behavior.
Apparently, there’s been maybe two incidences with moose encountering people or property. One was a case with a lady with a dog…might have gotten kicked. It was a close call. Steven Boyd from the Park City Fire Department called me and said that a super aggressive Bull Moose, normally Mr. Mellow ripping lawn furniture and attacking the shed…”
Steve Boyd lives in the Iron Mountain neighborhood. On Sunday night about 11 pm, he and his wife witnessed a bull moose, who has been a frequent visitor on their property, take on their patio furniture.
We noticed right away, he came with a little attitude. I flipped the lights on and he’s kicking and moving all around, kind of snorting and whipping his head back. We had some lawn furniture and a fire pit and all of a sudden, he went over and took one of the lawn chairs which probably weighs about 30 pounds and flipped it up onto the rock wall. And, I went outside to yell at him and when I did yell at him, he just looked at me and snorted and grabbed another one and pushed it about 70 feet down our back yard and throwing it, rolling it all the way down until he got it into the woods and started stomping on it. He then proceeded to walk over to another set of chairs and proceeded to stomp them down.”
Boyd says the bull then tried to lift the roof off his shed with his antlers before wandering off into the woods. He says a neighbor was recently chased into her home by a cow moose and another person was kicked while hiking on the Iron Mountain Trail.
People like to hike up the Iron Mountain Trail because it’s hiking only and for many, seeing wildlife is part of the appeal. Anyone who has hiked there knows to watch out for moose in the narrow canyon. Boyd says the Fall colors have enticed lots of families with kids and dogs to hike the canyon. He thinks people should know about this erratic and odd behavior.
“He’s really beautiful right now. And I have some pictures of him. He was here a week and a half ago and it’s really amazing how his rack has grown in just the last week and a half. He’s got a beautiful coat. We have about 8 moose that live within kind of the meadow, the trail head and down in the neighborhood. And that’s a lot of moose. We have two females and two big bulls and we have two that are just over a year and a half old and we have a mom with two little ones. They all hang out in everybody’s yards in Iron Canyon and we all wake up with them sleeping in the back yards.”
There’s nothing unusual about moose wandering into yards….and…. even into houses as KPCW has reported. Boyd contacted Mountain Trails to let people know about some of the odd behaviors he’s been experiencing lately.
“We have a Mama and two young first year with her and she has been behaving very oddly lately too. She chased another neighbor just down the road into her house the other night. And, we did have a small altercation where she did kick the hiker up on the trail. So, I wanted to talk to Charlie and make him aware the moose up in Iron Canyon right now aren’t behaving normally and just to be aware.”
Sturgis says the recent reports of a mountain lion in Park Meadows and the aggressive moose encounters are reminders that we live in a shared habitat. He asks folks to give wild animals space and to manage pets on the trails and to be careful especially during the mating season.