Anita Hartley: Keep dog under control
Every time I have hiked the Soda Creek Trail on Buffalo Pass I have either seen moose or their hoof prints along the path.
Yesterday, I took a walk up there with my dog, fully aware we were in moose territory. My dog, even though he is great at listening while off leash, got clipped into his leash just in case.
Not even 10 feet down the trail, I heard a woman calling for her dog, and I thought nothing of it … until …out of the woods, about 10 feet from me, came two moose running full speed, right toward me. They were being chased by the other hiker’s dog.
Immediately, thinking of prior articles about what to do if ever charged by a moose, I quickly picked up my 15-pound dog and hid behind the closest, largest tree — getting mentally prepared for a possible attack. One moose charged the dog, and I demanded to the dog “No,” “Stop!” and “Come here!”
Thankfully, the dog listened to me, and the frightened moose were able to escape the situation. After all was said and done, two women come up the path, and I had to inform them of what had happened.
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One woman’s first instinct was to take out her camera and take photos of the moose (who were still close, fully alert and obviously agitated). The other woman asked me, “Oh the moose charged him? Good! That’ll teach my dog a lesson!”
I mentioned to them how scary the situation was, and how I always see moose on this trail. The woman both responded with, “Oh, we never see moose up here!”
I continued on the trail with my hike, despite feeling a bit spooked, myself. The entire hike I saw so many moose tracks on the trail that I thought to myself, “How could these women not have noticed these huge hoof prints all over the place?”
Some of the prints were fresh, but most of them had been weathered, as if they had been there for a few days.
Though these women were sweet and nice, they were completely naive to the fact that there is obvious moose activity and to the fact that I almost got trampled due to them not having full control of their dog.
I’m writing this letter to bring yet more awareness to our community. Please remember that you are in the territory of the wildlife — and to always keep your guard up — and yes, keep your dogs on the leash unless you know they are 100 percent under your voice control. I will be contacting the Department of Wildlife, requesting them to put a sign up at the Soda Creek Trailhead to remind hikers about moose in the area.
Her dog could have easily been trampled, and more importantly, I could have ended up in the hospital had I not reacted quickly and ran off the trail. Had these moose had a newborn calf, the situation could have been a lot more hostile toward the dog and anything that got into the mother moose’s way.
Please be careful!
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A Steamboat Springs local for 25 years and avid bike rider for more than 40, Butch Boucher previously had only one common surgery in his lifetime, and not even any stitches, before he crashed onto…