Moose charging at campsite is shot, killed by camper with a dog, Idaho officials say

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When a moose tore through a North Idaho campsite and charged toward a dog, a camper grabbed his gun.

Idaho Fish and Game said a camper fatally shot a bull moose Tuesday after it wouldn’t stop charging him and his dog at a Harrison Lake backcountry site. Officials did not identify the camper.

“The moose tore apart the campsite and charged at the camper and his dog. The camper hid behind a tree, but the moose did not stop charging,” Idaho Fish and Game said in a news release. “The camper then discharged a firearm at the moose in self-defense from close range.”

The moose died, and the Forest Service shut down the Harrison Lake trailhead. Bears could be drawn to the carcass, and officials want to prevent any conflicts between bears and hikers.

Moose can be found in the northern United States “from Maine to Washington,” as well as in Canada and Alaska, according to the National Wildlife Foundation.

Idaho Fish and Game officials said campers and hikers should always be prepared when heading outdoors. Moose will become agitated and aggressive if they feel threatened, so people should always give them space.

“This is also a good reminder to carry bear spray when hiking or backcountry camping,” officials said. “Bear spray isn’t just for bears and can also be used as a highly effective tool against other mammals if an unsafe wildlife encounter occurs.”

Moose and other animals can view dogs as a threat, so it’s best to keep them on a leash, Fish and Game said.

If a moose lays its ears back or the hair on its neck rises, it means the animal is stressed. The moose could be getting ready to charge.

Here are other tips to stay safe from moose from Idaho Fish and Game:

  • Make noise and announce your presence

  • Don’t hike or run with headphones in and pay attention to warning signs

  • Watch a moose’s behavior

  • Put something between you and a moose

  • Never get between a moose and its baby

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