WENATCHEE — Agencies will be closing a section of trail in the Horan Natural Area early to protect a yearling moose that has become a frequent visitor.
The agencies that manage the area, the State Parks Department and Chelan County PUD, close the side trail each year for nesting bald eagles, according to a state Department of Fish and Wildlife news release. But the closure will also benefit the moose, though, and minimize interactions with the public.
Many people in the Wenatchee area have encountered the yearling cow moose in the Horan since July, according to the news release. The moose likely wandered into the area after leaving its mother to find new territory.
Moose are not easily spooked and do not fear humans. The minimum safe distance from a moose is at least 50 yards — half a football field.
Signs of aggression from a moose include:
- Lowering the head and putting back the ears
- Swaying back and forth
- Snorting and licking the snout
If charged by a moose people should get behind a large tree, rock, or other object.
If knocked down people need to get back up as fast as possible.
The agency has the following recommendations including:
Keep dogs on leashes and under control. Moose see dogs as predators and may act aggressively toward them.
- Females will defend calves aggressively, so give them a wide berth.
- If a moose reacts to your presence, you are too close.
- Always yield the trail to moose; do not approach them.
- If a moose approaches, back away immediately.
Be warned that bulls will defend their territory at all times, with increased aggression during the fall mating season, late September through November.
There are about 5,000 moose in Washington state with the majority in the Selkirk Mountains in Northeastern Washington, according to the news release. The number of moose in Okanogan and Chelan counties has increased in recent years.