Moose charges hikers, man with baby on Spring Creek Trail | CraigDailyPress.com

Moose charges hikers, man with baby on Spring Creek Trail

John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs Police Officer Matt Gadbois prepares to move his police car in order to allow a very unhappy moose to move down Spring Creek Trail Tuesday afternoon. The moose had crossed paths with hikers on the trail and chased one man, who had his son in a baby backpack, back up the trail. Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Andrea Sponseller said it's important to be aware of surroundings this time of year, because animals and humans are oftentimes using the same cleared trails to get around town.

Steamboat Springs — No one was injured when a moose chased three dogs and a man carrying an infant on Spring Creek Trail Tuesday afternoon. — No one was injured when a moose chased three dogs and a man carrying an infant on Spring Creek Trail Tuesday afternoon.

— No one was injured when a moose chased three dogs and a man carrying an infant on Spring Creek Trail Tuesday afternoon.

Brooks Motley, who was carrying his infant son in a baby backback, ducked into a driveway of one of the few homes along the road and attempted to gain entry to a house for protection from the aggressive moose that had barreled down the road after three dogs interrupted an afternoon meal.

“I ran into the driveway and tried to get into the house, but the door was locked,” Motley said. “The moose followed us into the driveway and just stood there, snorting and grinding its hooves on the snow.”

Motley said there was a small, enclosed area at the house he could have gotten into and planned to put his 21-month-old son, Warren, behind him for protection. Fortunately, however, after the dogs slipped past, the moose lost interest in Motley and moved out of the driveway.

The incident with the moose began as Meghan Lukens and her friend, Lauren Siegel, were returning from a hike on Spring Creek Trail and encountered the animal.

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Lukens said the girls were about 150 feet from the parking lot at the trail head when Siegel’s three dogs went crazy and ran about 50 feet ahead of them around a corner. That's when Lukens first saw the moose standing along the roadway.

"It was huge," Siegel said. "It started running toward us, and we started running the other way."

Fortunately, the moose was preoccupied with the dogs, and that allowed the girls to duck to the side of the road. They said the moose passed roughly five feet from them.

The bigger problem arose about 50 yards past the girls, where Motley was also headed down the trail with his infant son. The girls shouted a warning, and the man also started fleeing back up the road toward the reservoir.

At that point, Lukens called police, who responded — along with an officer with Colorado Parks and Wildlife — within minutes.

"We were afraid that the man and the baby were going to get trampled by the moose," Lukens said.

After the moose passed, Lukens and Siegel continued down the trail hoping the dogs would follow them. The moose did chase the dogs, but it also ran past Motley, who said the animal eventually lost interest in the dogs and went about its business.

Andrea Sponseller, a district wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said it was a lucky thing no one was hurt.

"I really encourage people to be situationally aware," Sponseller said. “You have to be aware when you live in Steamboat Springs; you are just as likely to see wildlife in front of your house as you are in the backcountry."

She said with a greater number of moose in the Steamboat area, this reality has become even more important. This week, a group of three to four moose grazed on decorative bushes and trees at a townhouse on Waterstone Lane off Walton Creek Road, and a couple weeks ago, several moose were spotted along Cherry Drive and the trail that leads from Old Fish Creek Falls.

"They are everywhere," Sponseller said. "I don’t think the snow is necessarily pushing them anywhere. I think they are just following the path of least resistance."

She said people need to be aware wildlife is out there and encouraged people to keep their dogs on leashes to avoid putting their animals, themselves and other people in harm’s way.

"People just need to be responsible pet owners," Sponseller said. "Moose are threatened by dogs, and in almost every situation where a moose has charged, there has been a dog involved.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966