Idaho: Backpacker Uses .45 to Stop Attacking Moose

Category: Strategy

Idaho: Backpacker Uses .45 to Stop Attacking Moose, iStock-1267347986
Idaho: Backpacker Uses .45 to Stop Attacking Moose, iStock-1267347986

U.S.A.-( On June 21, 2021, a bull moose repeatedly charged an Idaho backpacker and his dog, who had set up camp at Harrison Lake, a pristine wilderness site, about a 4.6 mile hike from the trailhead.  Harrison lake is a near oval mountain lake with one outlet, known as pack river.  From

The moose tore apart the campsite and charged at the camper and his dog. The camper hid behind a tree, but the moose did not stop charging. The camper discharged a firearm at the moose in self-defense from close range, according to the release. Fish and Game responded to the incident and located the deceased moose.

The Forest Service has closed the Harrison Lake trailhead to hikers to prevent possible conflicts between hikers and any bears that may feed on the carcass. The trailhead will be closed for a week.

It’s unclear whether the dog was leashed or not but it was in the man’s camp, IDFG spokeswoman Kara Campbell said. A .45 caliber handgun was used, Campbell said.

Attacks by moose are rare in the lower 48 states because moose are not common.

In Alaska, attacks by moose against humans are more common than attacks against humans by bears. However, more people are killed by attacking bears than by attacking moose. There are about six times as many moose in Alaska as grizzly bears, and about twice as many moose as black bears.

Harrison lake from Google Maps

The range of moose in the lower 48 states seems to be expanding, but the populations appear stable. Common handgun calibers seem to be effective in stopping moose attacks.  Moose have established populations in 18 states. Moose populations in Idaho and Maine are high enough the authorities have established regular hunting seasons.

Because moose attacks are rare, shooting the occasional moose that attacks humans has no significant effect on moose populations.

The authorities in Idaho investigated the shooting of the moose, verified the moose had been attacking the man and his dog in their campsite and had done considerable damage to the camp before the man felt compelled to shoot the bull in self-defense.

Other campers noted the dead bull and the risk it of attracting bears. From

Backpacked up here Thursday night 6/25/21, set up camp and called it a night. Friday morning was beautiful and we were the only ones there and started walking around the lake when we came upon the dead moose that had been shot. My fiancé and I immediately left because grizzlys are in the area. On the way down we ran into 4 Forest Service employees who told us they had closed the trail and were going up to take care of the moose. Glad we didn’t run into any bears up there.

In a more sane civilization, the camper would be enjoying moose steaks and trying to turn as much of the meat into jerky as possible before it all spoiled.

In our prosperous society, where one of the biggest problems for poor people is obesity, where people have to deliberately avoid help to suffer serious hunger, the waste of hundreds of pounds of meat is accepted as necessary to prevent poaching.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten