COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A hiker had a close encounter with a moose Sunday morning at the Air Force Academy.
Drew Dunbar posted the photo on KRDO NewsChannel 13's Facebook page and commented: "Scared me to death, I was on foot! Lol That's not zoomed in either, that's from my phone. She came out of nowhere. For being so big, it was super quiet. I had to wait til it crossed the road and sniffed the air."
Moose are not native to Colorado. They were introduced into the area in the late 1970s. Since then, the moose population has thrived. Moose sightings in northern and western Colorado are not uncommon. A two-year-old moose was on the loose in Broomfield in September.
However, Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Abbie Walls said she is surprised to hear of a moose sighting in southern Colorado.
"But then again, they are out there and this is their home too so we have to back up and give them some space," said Walls.
An adult moose is around 1,200 pounds. Moose appear docile, but wildlife experts said they're more aggressive than most wildlife.
"They are not afraid of humans at all," said Walls.
Walls said it's essential to keep your distance if you do encounter a moose.
"The hair on the back of its neck will stand up. It may start licking its snout. It may put its ears back -- those are all signs that you are too close," said Walls. "What they will typically do is charge and then kick. Those are very powerful kicks that can lead to serious injury or even death."
Jacquie Boron was attacked by a moose while walking her dog with a friend in May.
"It happened in a matter of minutes, five minutes. It's hard to tell when you are just getting trampled," said Boron.
Boron suffered four broken ribs and bruises all over her body, and needed staples in the back of her head and 15 stitches on her leg .
"All of a sudden I looked up and he was looking right at me and then grunted and then charged. He got me a in the chest and that threw me back on the ground," said Boron.
Walls said dogs are often a factor in moose attacks.
"Their natural predator is a wolf and a dog looks like a wolf to a moose. If you have your dog off the leash and it chases the moose and the moose comes running back, a lot of times the dog is going to come running back to you for protection, bringing that angry moose with it," said Walls.