Moose chasing golfers in Breckenridge; Officials urge caution during calf breeding season

A stag chased a pair of golfers across Breckenridge Golf Course on Saturday, June 18.
Doug Lin / Summit Daily Reader Archive

Who would win a race, an electric golf cart on a slope or a full-step moose?

Regular golfers and college tennis players of Hope, Justin Fey and Taylor Truman, never thought about their exact finish line on Saturday when they found themselves trying to beat the moose, but they definitely learned who was faster.

“If he wanted to catch us, he could have caught us easily,” Fei said.

Faye and Truman were playing a round at Breckenridge Golf Course late Saturday night. Fay said no one has had play times before or after it, and the pair will likely be the last ones on the Elk Course. It was just after seven in the evening when they got to the seventh hole. The opening has a long sloping path that leads to a small valley just before the green. Players have to fire their engines to the edge of the valley and throw the ball over the scar of the bushes and onto the green area. After losing two balls in the bush, Faye and Truman eventually made their way into the green.

When Fei went to batting mode, he looked back at the track and saw a moose wandering through the lane. Recounting the experience, Fay remembers telling Truman, “Look, Taylor. There’s a deer.”

Truman, who was visiting from Michigan, said she had never seen an elk up close before. Fay said he thought it would be a special moment to end Truman’s vacation. Fei spent a great deal of time in Summit County and was used to seeing Moss. He said he was aware of the threat, but also used to stagnate ignoring him.

This moose, however, did not ignore them.

Fei said as he started to run around the narrow valley toward the green. He said he had never seen an animal move so quickly.

“It was about the size of a car,” he said.

Fei said they hurried to the next golf cart. He said they didn’t have time to put the batons in the back, so Truman caught them leaving. He said the moose came within 30 yards of them when the carriage started.

Fey tried to mount it on the ground, but the buggies have automatic speed limits. He said he doesn’t think they can go faster than 15 mph, especially on climbs. Fortunately, they were coming off the highest part of the course.

The trolley track crosses the Gold Run Road on its way to Hole 8 where it heads down to the club which is about half a mile away. Faye and Truman crossed the road with their wagon, and Faye said they crossed the road in front of the vehicle as they did.

At the time, Fay said the plan was to get past hole 8, lose the moose and play hole 9. But the moose didn’t stop — not at the road or at hole 9 — so they kept driving toward the club.

Truman said she kept looking back, trying to draw attention to the anger. Faye mentioned to her that there could be a calf nearby and that it could be a mother protecting her child. She said she looked for him but never saw him.

Continue down towards Hole 9. There, the path makes a horseshoe-shaped bend just before the lake. They nervously cut the corner, Fei said, able through the horseshoe. He said he feared the cart’s automatic shutdown would activate if they left the cart’s primary path.

Fay said the idea worried him, but it did more than that for Truman.

“If we lock up, Justin can run fast,” she said. “I run fast but not as fast as him.”

You didn’t want to be the slowest runner in a race against moose.

They said they considered jumping off the wagon and rushing into the next neighborhood.

As they drove through the lake, Fei said that the moose entered the lake from a distance. She still swam in their direction but gave them enough time and space to drive to the club house.

They passed on their experience to an employee, who told them that a baby moose had been spotted a few days earlier. Staff at Breckenridge Golf Course reported that staff had spotted baby moose, possibly as young as one year old, in one of their ponds earlier in the week.

Fei described the moose’s behavior as if he was “stalking them”. Truman described it as a “terrifying” experience. She said when she returned to her office in Chicago, her co-workers thought it sounded like a great experience. She said it wasn’t a moment she wanted to relive.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends people run away from moose as quickly as possible if they become aggressive. State officials say people should try to put a large object, such as a rock or car, between them and the moose. Moose can protect their young. Dogs can also lead to aggressive behavior.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife encourage people to provide plenty of space for and respect the animals.