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Moose Attack Prompts Warning from Idaho Fish and Game
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Moose can become stressed by extreme cold and deep snow during winter.
   
Friday, January 20, 2023
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Idaho Fish and Game is asking Wood River Valley residents to report interactions with big game immediately following a moose attack on a Ketchum woman.

Lori Sarchett was knocked unconscious briefly by a moose in her Warm Springs driveway on Friday, Jan. 13. She received treatment at Wood River Medical Center for a broken nose and leg injury after the moose charged her.

But the incident was not reported to Idaho Fish and Game until four days later on Jan. 17.

“Timely reporting of attacks by aggressive moose or any other wildlife to Fish and Game is critically important,” said Terry Thompson, regional communications manager for Idaho Fish and Game in the Magic Valley Region. “Having conservation officers and biologists responding immediately to an attack or aggressive wildlife incident greatly increases our ability to safely provide a service of protecting the public from additional wildlife incidents.” 

Attacks should be reported immediately by calling 911, Thompson added.

Fish and Game officers are attempting to locate and relocate the moose that was involved to a more remote location. The challenge is that multiple moose have been reported in the Warm Springs area, Thompson said.

The attack may have been provoked by a small dog that barked at the moose when the dog got out of the car, Thompson said. The homeowner tried to intervene and that’s when the moose charged the woman from 20 feet away.

Residents are encouraged to be vigilant when they spot a moose. Moose may give the appearance of being slow and plodding but can react incredibly fast when provoked, covering distances in a matter of seconds, said Thompson.

Watch for signs of agitation or stress, Thompson said. If a moose lays its ears back or the hair on the back of the neck raises, that means it is stressed and could charge at any time. Moose will often snort or grunt or stomp their hooves when stressed or feeling threatened. If you see any of these behaviors, the best course of action is to put something between you and the moose, such as a tree or a vehicle.

Moose can become stressed by extreme cold and deep snow in winter when their food supplies are scarce and their fat reserves are being depleted so it’s best to minimize disturbances, Thompson added.

Dogs should be leashed when in the presence of a moose. Even then, a moose may perceive them as a predator so it’s best to avoid an area where moose are present.

Never put yourself between a cow and calf.

And be extremely careful during fall when males are in rut as they can become very agitated and aggressive.

Report sightings or non-aggressive encounters to the Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359 during business hours. Make reports to the Blaine County Dispatch non-emergency line at 208-788-5555 after hours.

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