Moose trees Mesa Cortina man |

Moose trees Mesa Cortina man

MESA CORTINA – He did what any fearful mammal would do: He let go of his dog and said, “Run!”

Mesa Cortina resident Dave Petersen took his yellow labrador, Stanley, for their usual morning hike Sunday. Petersen said he was bushwhacking north of the neighborhood trail, just above the Ruby Ranch neighborhood when, “All of a sudden, I heard a loud snort in the willows.”

“I thought it was a bear and got a hold of the dog’s collar and started moving away,” Petersen said. “Then the moose came trotting out, saw me and came right for me. He didn’t care at all about the dog.”

That’s when Petersen gave the “run” command and made haste himself. He ran behind a large evergreen and turned around to find the bull moose staring at him through the branches. The moose chased him around the tree, Petersen said, so Petersen took to the tree and didn’t stop until he was above the moose’s antlers.

“I’m 6-foot-2, and he was bigger than me,” Petersen said. “I must have been 10 feet up in the tree.”

Petersen said he waited five minutes to be sure the moose was gone – his dog was below him barking the whole time. Just when he thought it was safe, the moose came sauntering by again, and Petersen waited another five minutes. After climbing out of the tree, Petersen had a brisk walk home.

“It was kind of a heartstopper at first, but then it was neat,” he said. “It’s kind of scary, but I was in his territory. I realize that every time I go hiking; it’s Eagle’s Nest Wilderness, and that’s why they call it that. You always have to be willing to deal with that and be ready to react.”

A Front Range couple staying in Wildernest for the week spotted what was likely the same moose Tuesday. Pictures of the animal could not be reproduced. Petersen also spotted the bull and a cow Tuesday and said he’s been alerting his neighbors about possible encounters they might have out on the trail.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or

Moose Facts

Moose are not natural residents of Colorado. Animals found in Summit County are likely the descendants of moose introduced from Utah and Wyoming. In 1978, a dozen moose were relocated to North Park from Utah, and a dozen more the next year from Wyoming. Moose also have been introduced in southwest Colorado.

Moose are the largest animals in the deer family. Males can grow to more than 9 feet long and 6 feet tall at the shoulder and often weigh more than 1,000 pounds. They are easily

distinguished by their flattened antlers and “bell,” or dewlap, under their throat.

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