Jan 6, 2014 11:26 AM by Laura Wilson - Kalispell
KALISPELL - A Kalispell teenager has been fined $250 after his friend posted a video of his encounter with a moose while the two were snowboarding.
The video, which features Whitefish High School student Hunter Lamoureux and his friend Charlie Rush, was posted two weeks ago to Facebook with the caption, "Just chasing a moose while snowboarding...no big deal."
But officials with the Flathead National Forest Service didn't see it that way.
Forest spokesman Wade Muehlhof said, "We do have regulations about harassing wildlife, and this video fell under that. A citation was issued to the snowboarder who was chasing the moose. While that's a punitive kind of thing, really what's important is that learning opportunity - to learn that that was not the best action to take.
Muehlhof says the two teenagers are lucky that a citation is all that came from the encounter, noting, "If moose feel threatened and go to protect themselves, a person can be seriously injured by them. At the end of the video, you notice that the moose stops and turns. That could have had a very bad outcome for the snowboarder. We're very happy that neither the moose nor the snowboarder were injured. It's very important to get the message out that if you encounter wildlife, please don't engage with the wildlife. Be patient; usually they'll move out of the way, or find a different way around.
Engaging with or agitating wildlife could put other skiers at risk, according to the Forest Service.
But there is a way to protect yourself and others, if you do encounter an animal on the mountain.
Riley Polumbus of Whitefish Mountain Resort said, "Call ski patrol. We want to make sure there's a safe distance between our skiers and the animal. That's why we need to get ski patrol involved so they can get on the scene and make sure it's safe.
Rush has been ordered to pay $250 for violating a FNFS state law.