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Backcountry camper kills aggressive moose in self-defense

June 30, 2021 GMT

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — Idaho wildlife officials say a backcountry camper killed a moose in self defense after the animal charged him and his dog.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said in a prepared statement that the incident happened last week when the camper was at Harrison Lake, north of Sandpoint.

The moose tore apart the man’s campsite and charged the camper and his dog. The camper hid behind a tree, according to the department, but the moose didn’t stop charging. That’s when the camper shot the massive animal at close range, killing it.

Officials with the Fish and Game Department responded to the shooting, and the U.S. Forest Service has since closed the Harrison Lake trailhead to hikers in case so they don’t encounter any bears that may feed on the carcass.

Moose in Idaho can weigh as much as 1,100 pounds, with bulls standing nearly 6 feet high at the shoulder. State wildlife officials say hikers should make noise to avoid surprising moose or other potentially dangerous wildlife, and that if a moose puts its ears back or raises the hair on its neck, it may be about to charge.

The Department of Fish and Game said people should carry bear spray when hiking or camping, because it can be used to deter many animals in unsafe encounters.