A 58-year-old Colorado man is still recovering from the injuries sustained during a moose attack on Monday. But things could have been worse for Robert Standerwich, who was able to fire his gun during the attack and scare the moose away.

Standerwich was walking his dogs on a trail in Coal Creek Canyon southwest of Boulder when he rounded a corner and surprised a cow moose with her calf, according to an incident report from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Both of his dogs were off-leash at the time.

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The cow charged Standerwich and knocked him on the ground, “stomping him several times.”

Standerwich was arm, however, and he fired two shots at the ground as he was trampling. This was enough to startle the attacking cow and the two moose retreated. (It’s unclear what firearm Standerwich was carrying at the time, and CPW did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

Howe told reporters that he heard the gunshots and then saw Standerwich’s two dogs on his property “looking for help.” After finding Standerwich on the ground, Howe stayed with him while his wife called 911 and they waited for first responders to arrive.

“Where he was at, no one goes down there. He could have laid down there for days.” Howe said.  He wouldn’t have alerted us or been able to scare it away.”

After investigating the incident, CPW officers searched the canyon for the cow and calf but didn’t locate them. The agency explained that cow moose are often more aggressive during calving season, which typically takes place from the end of May through mid-June in Colorado. Moose seem particularly prone to aggressive behavior around dogs, and more than a few recent moose attacks in Colorado and elsewhere have involved people with dogs.

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“During late spring and early summer, cow moose can be aggressive while their calves are young, and they can view dogs as predators or threats,” the agency explained in the incident report. “CPW urges dog owners to keep their dogs leashed while hiking and give moose extra space on the trails.”

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