In what appears to be the fourth reported attack of its kind in Colorado so far this year, a woman and her dog suffered injuries along a hiking trail when a cow moose attacked them this week, state wildlife officials said.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the hiker was walking her dog on a wooded trail in the Rocky Mountains on Wednesday when she spooked a cow moose and it charged her, headbutted her and stomped on her several times before she could retreat.
The South Saint Vrain Trail is north of Ward, in Boulder County in north central Colorado, an area where wildlife officials say they've seen an increase in the moose population in recent years.
The woman was eventually able to return back down the trail she hiked to a neighbor’s house, where they called Boulder County Sheriff's Office deputies. She was taken to a local hospital. The dog, which suffered minor injuries, was leashed at the time of the attack.
'A deadly predator': 2nd yellow-legged hornet nest, murder hornet's relative, found in GA
10 days prior: Another attack
Just 10 days earlier, south in Teller County, two hikers with three leashed dogs reported confronting a cow moose near Crags Trail.
The hikers had stopped on the trail to observe the moose and its calf about a mile into the trail and told officials they tried to keep a safe distance from the animals, but the moose drew close to the group.
When one of the dogs began to bark, officials said, the moose charged one of the hikers, trampling one of them. According to a release from wildlife officials, they were able to run away as the moose chased them along the trail.
The injured hiker walked away from the trampling on their own, officials reported, and went to a hospital to be evaluated and treated for minor injuries.
Other moose attacks on humans reported in Colorado
The attacks over the past two weeks come on the heels of two other moose attacks reported in the state this year.
Officials said both took place in the Boulder County area, another location with growing moose and human populations located north of Teller County and northwest of Denver.
Tim Kroening, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Area Wildlife Manager for the Pikes Peak region, said in autum, wildlife including deer, elk and moose enter an annual breeding period called the "rut" − when males become more aggressive, fighting one other for the opportunity to mate. The aggression can sometimes be turned toward people who get too close, officials said.
Signs of moose aggression include its ears laid back, hairs on its rump raised and it licking its snout, wildlife officials said.
Bear attack near Montana trail: Officials search for grizzly bear that attacked hunter near Montana's Yellow Mule Trail
Moose population spikes across Colorado
The moose population is growing across Colorado, wildlife officials said, especially in Teller County.
As of mid-September, officials said, there were some 3,500 moose in the state, compared to 2,250 in 2013.
Wildlife officials are reminding hikers to keep a safe distance from animals in the wild when observing them.
Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior correspondent for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hiker headbutted, stomped on by cow moose on Colorado trail