UPDATE | Thursday, 3:45 p.m. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers were able to locate a baby moose in Nederland on Wednesday evening following a cow moose attack earlier that day. A sheriff's deputy shot and killed the cow, which repeatedly charged at rescuers as they tried to evacuate two hikers who had been injured. The wildlife officers heard reports of a baby moose in the area and knowing it wouldn't survive on its own, began to search for the young animal. They found the female calf, likely younger than three days old, on Wednesday evening. CPW veterinary staff are caring for it.
NEDERLAND, Colo. — A man was seriously injured and a woman has minor injuries after a moose charged at them on a trail near Nederland on Wednesday morning, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the moose was killed by a Boulder County deputy.
Jason Clay, spokesperson with CPW, said wildlife officers were working at a call concerning a moose at a Thornton golf course Wednesday morning when they received word around 8 a.m. of an incident involving a moose near the West Magnolia Trailhead southwest of Nederland. They also learned that one person had been injured.
Wildlife officers, as well as deputies with the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, responded to that area.
Once they arrived, they learned that a moose had charged at two hikers, including a 31-year-old man, who was seriously injured, CPW said. In addition, a woman had minor injures and their dog had also been injured. It was a "surprise encounter," Clay said. He added that a calf was reported in the area, but CPW officers have not located it. The dog was off-leash, but "under their control," Clay said.
Shortly after pulling up to the area, a deputy searching for the injured people — who were yelling for help — encountered the moose. The deputy attempted to scare it off by firing bean bags at it, and the cow ran away. As he assisted the people, the moose returned. The deputy fired a warning shot and it ran away, only to return again as the deputy and medics were evacuating the injured man, CPW said.
It continued charging at people, so the deputy shot the moose, killing it. Clay said only CPW officers can tranquilize a moose, and they were dealing with the other moose in Thornton, so they were not there at the time the deputy shot it after trying to scare it away multiple times so they could safely evacuate the people with injuries.
CPW wildlife officers are investigating the circumstances around the attack and are continuing to search for the baby, which will not survive on its own, Clay said.
"This time of year in particular if you have a cow with a calf, they will be very aggressive defending their calf and that's normal behavior for them," he said. "In general with moose, if you see them, you want to get away from them right away. It's different than a bear or mountain lion where we say stand your ground, don't run from them."
This marks the third known moose attack on a person in 2022. Previously, cows that were likely defending their nearby babies attacked a person on May 26 in Breckenridge and on May 31 in Grand Lake.
During this time, CPW recommends avoiding thick willow habitat, where moose often rest and eat. Learn more about moose in Colorado here.