Utah (ABC4) – Did you know moose are the largest member of the deer family found in Utah?

They can be found in the mountains of the northern and northeastern portions of the state. According to Wild Aware Utah, the state is “Moose Country.”

Moose prefer forest habitats, especially those locations with a mixture of wooded areas and open areas near lakes or wetlands. 

Moose are herbivores that prefer to feed on aquatic vegetation and new woody growth during the spring and summer. During the winter months, their preferred food items are not available, so they switch to a diet of bark and twigs from evergreen and deciduous trees.

Courtesy: Wild Aware Utah

Moose make short migrations between summer and winter habitats and are usually seen singly or in small groups. 

An adult moose can weigh anywhere from 800 to 1,200 lbs. According to Wild Aware Utah, bulls stand 6 ft. tall at the shoulder, can run up to 35 miles per hour, and are most active near dawn and dusk.

Because they are common in Utah, Wild Aware Utah says they want residents and visitors to know how to stay safe if they encounter a moose. 

Wild Aware Utah lists the following things to do if you encounter a moose.

  • On a trail, give a moose a lot of space and watch its behavior.
  • Back off if it exhibits any signs of aggression, such as the hair standing up on their neck, snout licking, or ears back.
  • Stay calm. Do not run away. Talk, make your presence known, and slowly back off in the direction you came.
  • If it charges you or chases you, hide behind something solid, such as a tree.
  • If it knocks you down, curl into a ball, protect your head, and lie still until it retreats.

Wild Aware Utah lists the following information and actions to take to prevent conflict. 

  • Cows with calves can be aggressive in the spring.
  • Bull moose may be especially aggressive during the fall breeding season.
  • Do not approach or feed a moose.
  • Keep dogs leashed and under control at all times. Moose can be very aggressive around them. It is against Utah law to allow dogs to chase or harass wildlife.

If you happen to have an encounter with aggressive wildlife, please alert the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources office near you