You set foot on a Montana nature trail for a hike in the wilderness. It's going to be a wonderful adventure.

And regardless of what you see, in the back of your mind, you know it would be cool to experience a wildlife viewing that you don't get to see very often. Just...not too close.

We don't know if that was in the mind of a couple of Montana hikers last week. While fortunately there weren't any real serious injuries, there had to have been some rather anxious moments for the guys.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tells us that a hiker was injured during a surprise close encounter with a bull moose while hiking east of Ennis. Two men in their 70s were hiking on U.S. Forest Service Trail 6317, commonly called the Jack Creek Trail, about 10 miles east of Ennis. Two miles up the trail, the men encountered a bull moose standing about 10 yards off one side of the trail.  There probably wasn't a lot of time to react as the moose charged at the hikers. One of the guys got behind a standing tree while the other took cover under a fallen tree. The moose continued its approach and kicked at the man under the fallen tree until the other hiker was successful in driving the moose away. FWP did not go into detail about how he did that. It might be handy to know.

The man who was kicked while under the tree was treated at Madison Valley Medical Center for injuries that were not life threatening. Good to hear, since an adult bull moose can get to upwards of 1,400 pounds. That could be some serious kicking. The other man did not require medical treatment.

Moose can be defensive and dangerous in surprise close encounters with people. FWP staff have posted signs at the entrance to this trail advising of the encounter. No further management action is planned at this time. But FWP does caution you to be aware of your surroundings and be especially careful around creeks and in areas with dense brush.


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