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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 12 - 18, 2002


Ketchum man recounts standoff with miffed moose

Express Staff Writer

Marlin Miller discovered first-hand just how scary it is to be face-to-face with an angry bull moose.

"That was a terrifying experience," Miller, a Ketchum resident, said after a moose charged him and his dog near the Big Wood River last Wednesday morning. "I thought it had killed my dog."

While waiting for some automobile work to be done at Dean Tire and Automotive, Miller and his dog, Tundra, strolled toward the Big Wood River on a popular anglers’ access route across Highway 75. It was early morning, and the moose, apparently still bedded down, was surprised.

Miller dropped Tundra’s leash and dove into a cluster of willows.

"He must have been going 20 mph when he blew by me and flew after the dog," Miller said.

The dog ran toward the highway, but its leash snagged on some brush. Miller said the moose may have overshot the dog when the canine jerked to a halt. The dog freed itself, and Miller had a 10-minute stand-off with the moose.

"Cottonwoods are impossible to climb. I tried," he said.

Though Miller’s moose confrontation ended happily for man, man’s best friend and the bull moose, Idaho Department of Fish and Game Conservation Officer Lee Garwood said such encounters could become more common in the Wood River Valley.

A conservative guess of the valley’s moose population is 70 to 90 animals, he said.

"You don’t need to fear these wild animals, but you do need to respect them and be aware of your surroundings," Garwood said.

He said the presence of a dog probably triggered the moose’s charge last week.

"A moose looks at a dog like it’s a wolf. They’re mortal enemies," he said. "The only predators in North America for moose are wolves."

Additionally, wild animals rearing young can be particularly dangerous this time of year, Garwood said.

"The mothers are hyper-protective when they’re little like that. If you see an animal baby, call Fish and Game and let them take care of it," he said.

If you see a moose in the wild, give it the right-of-way and steer clear, Garwood said.

Additionally, if a moose charges while you are walking a dog, separate yourself from the dog. The dog will be able to seek cover, and the moose will probably leave you alone.

"Mr. Miller did everything he could do properly," Garwood said.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.