A cow and calf moose have been reported in several parks in Missoula’s Rattlesnake neighborhood over the past week. Fish Wildlife and Parks Information and Education Program Manager Vivaca Crowser is urging folks to use extra caution.

“If you’re headed out, be sure to be extra aware if you do see the moose, stop and give it space,” Crowser said. “This is particularly important if you are out with a dog. You want to give the moose extra space and make sure you have your dog on a leash. Maybe consider walking your dog else ware right now as we let the moose kind of find its way out of the area here in the next few weeks.”

According to Crowser, it can be a very dangerous situation if a dog and a moose get too close.

“The moose has seen quite a few people and quite a few dogs so I think it is extra agitated right now,” Crowser said. “It is protective of its young. It can charge a person and a dog. It is not something we think about too often, but moose are really large animals that can be really dangerous, especially when they are in that protective mode and are already agitated.”

Crowser says FWP is monitoring the situation closely and may attempt to haze the moose into more remote locations. At this time of year, moose, elk and deer are spending more time in the valley bottoms where they can avoid deeper snow and access more forage.