Authorities said a Boulder County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a moose near Nederland on Wednesday after it attacked two hikers and their dog, seriously injuring a 31-year-old man. According to a news release, the sheriff’s office received a call shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday reporting that a man had suffered serious injuries after being charged by a cow moose near the West Magnolia Trailhead. According to the sheriff’s office, a woman who was with the man suffered minor injuries, and their dog was also injured.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they discovered the injured man on the site, as well as the cow moose that had remained in the area. The moose first raced away after a deputy fired beanbag rounds at it to scare it away. The moose reappeared while the deputy was assisting the injured individuals. According to the sheriff’s office, the authorities fired another warning shot, and the moose fled the area. The moose returned a third time while doctors were transporting the injured guy from the location, sheriff’s officials claimed, and proceeded to rush at people. According to the sheriff’s office, this spurred the deputy to shoot and kill the moose.

While moose are not typically aggressive towards humans, they can be lethal if provoked. Unlike deer (the moose’s close cousin), moose are not usually afraid of humans and will not flee simply because you are present. Their lack of fear makes it more appealing to approach them and pet, feed, or play with them. However, moose, like most other animals, will defend their young and territory if they feel threatened. Even if they appear slow and bored, moose’s can run up to 30 mph, so you’re unlikely to outrun one. If a moose attacks, they can trample you with their hoofs and full body weight (they can weigh up to 1200 pounds!).

Body language can also indicate whether a moose will become aggressive. Here are seven warning signs to look for:
1. The moose has stopped eating and is staring at you.
2. Pulls its earlobes back and raises the hair on its hump, neck, or hips.
3. Clicks its teeth and smacks or licks its lips.
4. Lowers its head and approaches you.
5. Urinates
6. Displays the whites of its eyes
7. Whips its head back and forth like a horse.

All of these are indications that a moose may attack. However, these signs may not always be present—they may charge without warning!

Jumping into the nearest body of water will do you no good because moose are excellent swimmers. Also, don’t rely on snow to slow a moose down–it can take a snowfall of over forty inches to start slowing these mighty beasts down. If the moose attacks you before you can reach a barrier, roll yourself into a ball. A moose will trample you with their front hooves after knocking you over. Rolling into a ball will aid in the protection of your head and vital organs.

If you stand up until the moose is a good distance away, it may charge again.