PALISADES — Jeremiah Bigelow had a scary moose encounter while snowmobiling with a group of friends near Palisades on Thursday.
The 44-year-old Ririe man recorded part of the event and shared it on social media.
Bigelow’s group of five was riding three snowmobiles along a groomed trail when they caught sight of a moose. They stopped their machines, but the rider in front of Bigelow, identified in the video description as his brother, got separated from the other two machines.
The snowmobile behind Bigelow couldn’t reverse, leaving the other four riders unable to give the animal more space.
In the video, you see the moose walking along the trail and then charging Bigelow’s brother. What we don’t see is the animal charging Bigelow first.
“He charged me, then stopped about 20 feet away and turned around,” Bigelow told EastIdahoNews.com. This is when he pulled out his phone and began recording.
He hoped the moose was going to walk away, but he could tell it was still upset.
“He was still agitated,” Bigelow recalled. “His hair was standing up and his head was down.”
Bigelow’s brother tried to act as a distraction by standing on his machine and waving his arms. He made himself a target in the process. As the moose charged him, his snowmobile stalled. The video shows him glancing backward and then jumping off his machine just a moment before the moose collided with it.
“It always amazes me how fast these animals move,” Bigelow said. “If he hadn’t jumped off, he would have been crushed under that moose.”
In the video, the animal can be seen falling on top of the snowmobile and then onto the ground. It finally runs off when Bigelow moves his snowmobile forward to help his brother. Bigelow was quick to assure EastIdahoNews.com that the moose was not injured.
“We followed his tracks for another half mile or so and saw him walking along, just fine,” he explained.
It isn’t unusual to see deer, elk and moose in eastern Idaho this time of year as they move to lower ground looking for food. If you see a large animal, it is best to give them space.
“I encourage people to enjoy moose from afar,” said James Brower of Idaho Fish and Game. “They can be dangerous if they feel cornered. If a moose does charge you, get something between you, like a tree. Something big.”
Bigelow and his friends are “humbled” by what happened and will use it as a learning experience.
“Lesson learned,” Bigelow noted on his Facebook page. “Should have reversed and let the moose do what it wanted.”
You can watch Bigelow’s video here.