YouTube / CTV News (left) - Facebook / Dave Meredith (right)
On a recent afternoon in Red Deer, Alberta, a man named David Meredith was out for a leisurely walk in his southeast community, Anders on the Lake, when he suddenly spotted a moose near him.
The animal, which can weigh up to 1500 pounds and stand over six feet tall at the shoulder, was clearly agitated and confident about letting his presence be known.
“He ended up doing a bluff charge,” Meredith recounted during an interview with CTV News. “So I took that opportunity to scream like a little girl and run up that tree. I really didn’t have anywhere to go.”
In a moment of quick thinking, David did the only thing he could think of and climbed a nearby tree. Moose cannot climb, so David knew that if he could get off the ground, he would be safe.
“He was grunting and had every intention to trample me by the looks of things,” David said. “It was quite intimidating. The photos don’t do it justice of how close it felt.”
As the moose crashed into the base of the tree, David scrambled higher and higher, desperately trying to get out of reach. The animal thrashed and snorted below him, clearly frustrated that it couldn’t get to him.
“You see the occasional rabbit, deer. Lots of ducks,” he said, adding that animal sightings have become more common since the pandemic.“With everybody shut down and not doing anything, it seems like the animals moved into town.”
After what felt like an eternity, 10-15 minutes, the moose eventually gave up and wandered off. David, shaken but otherwise unharmed, carefully made his way back down to the ground and made his way home as quickly as he could.
While moose attacks are relatively rare, they do happen, and it’s important to be prepared. If you find yourself being charged by a moose, your best bet is to try to get as much distance between yourself and the animal as possible.
If that’s not possible, try to find something to climb, like a tree or a fence. Moose are not good climbers, so you should be safe as long as you’re off the ground or behind something, like a vehicle.
“These are circumstances that can happen,” Doug Evans, a Red Deer city park planner told CTV News. “If there’s something you can put between the animal and you to protect you, that’s always the first instinct. If the animal gets more aggressive and you have to climb a tree or scale a fence, that’s what you need to do.”
It’s also a good idea to make some noise and try to look as big as possible. Moose are more likely to charge if they feel threatened, so by making yourself appear larger and more intimidating, you may be able to deter the animal.
David said, “These large game coming through the cities are wild animals, no matter what you do or talk to them or keep your distance, or whatever – they can cover a lot of ground quite quickly, as the video shows. I think just let them be and take your photos from a distance and let them do their thing. I don’t think their intentions are to hurt us by any means. Just don’t provoke them and don’t give them a reason to feel intimidated. Live with them, I guess.”
In the end, David was lucky to escape the charging moose unscathed. He learned a valuable lesson that day about the importance of being prepared and staying calm in the face of danger.