Moose Attacks Snowmobiles in Canyon Creek

By Beacon Staff

On Dec. 29 a snowmobiler riding along a groomed trail in the Canyon Creek area came upon a cow moose who subsequently kicked the machine and put its hoof through the sled’s hood.

John Fraley, spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 1, says the moose stayed on the path and challenged the sled as the snowmobiler backed off. When a couple more snowmobilers came around the bend at the popular recreation area north of Columbia Falls, the moose reportedly reacted the same way – kicking the side of one snowmobile before taking off.

“This isn’t typical behavior of a moose,” said Fraley, “even with a calf they wouldn’t typically attack a snowmobile.” FWP Warden Chris Crane and Wildlife Conflict Specialist Erik Wenum investigated the scene, finding tracks but no moose.

Shortly after the initial incident, a groomer smoothing the trails in the same area reported that he came upon a moose that refused to budge, even after hearing and seeing the machine churning along the path.

Fraley said there are reports of a young moose accompanying the cow. If FWP receives additional reports of similar aggressive behavior, the agency will attempt to find the moose, and kill it. Moose don’t respond well to tranquilizers, Fraley said, so moving the animal would not be a likely option.

“You lose about half the moose you try to tranquilize,” Fraley explained. Instead, the moose would be shot, and its meat donated to the food bank.