Bull moose runs over woman near Steamboat Springs
February 23, 2015
Steamboat Springs — Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
A woman walking two dogs was suddenly run over and injured by a bull moose Sunday afternoon in the Storm Mountain Ranch neighborhood south of Steamboat Springs.
Wildlife officials suspect something else spooked the moose on an adjacent property and sent it running toward the woman and the dogs before they even noticed it was coming.
Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Chief Mel Stewart said the 31-year-old woman was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center after the attack and then flown to Denver Health Medical Center. Officials did not release the name of the woman on Monday.
She sustained facial injuries and abrasions to one of her hands and was able to talk to paramedics following the attack, Stewart said.
Jim Haskins, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said it appears the moose ran over the woman from behind while she was walking the dogs on a road in the private neighborhood at the base of Rabbit Ears Pass.
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After interviewing the victim and a witness who was driving by at the time of the attack, Haskins said wildlife officers do not believe the woman or her dogs provoked the attack.
“At this point, our best guess is something else happened on an adjacent property and caused the moose to run (into Storm Mountain Ranch), and for whatever reason it came across the woman and ran over her,” Haskins said. “Whatever happened probably didn’t have anything to do with the dogs.”
He said the moose had plenty of room to get around her on a plowed, paved road, but it decided to run over her.
The victim, who was visiting her parents at the neighborhood, told Parks and Wildlife officers she did not know the moose was behind her until the last moment.
She said she turned and was head-butted by the animal.
The witness said the moose ran over the victim while her dogs were far ahead of her.
Parks and Wildlife officers were unable to locate the moose Sunday, but they saw pictures of it and were able to tell it was a bull that had shed its antlers.
They were also able to track it to Emerald Mountain before losing it.
Haskins said it is believed that after the attack, the moose crossed U.S. Highway 40, Colorado Highway 131 and Routt County Road 22 before going to Emerald.
The Storm Mountain Ranch neighborhood near Walton Creek is surrounded by ideal moose habitat.
Haskins said the witness to the attack said there are as many as 14 moose frequenting the area at a time, and they have sometimes acted aggressively.
“Really, I just think people need to keep in mind that if they’re in areas where there are moose, they need to be careful,” Haskins said.
This is the fourth moose attack in the Steamboat Springs area in the last two years.
Unlike the most recent incident, the other attacks are believed to have been provoked by dogs that moose perceived to be predators.
In September 2013, a Steamboat woman was attacked by a moose while she was walking her dogs on a trail near the water treatment plant east of The Sanctuary subdivision.
A few weeks later, a young female moose reportedly charged a woman walking her dogs in the Storm Mountain Ranch area and the moose hit her elbow.
In February 2014, a woman was injured by a moose near Steamboat while she was walking her two dogs near her home on Routt County Road 38A.