Moose return, but keep your distance |

Moose return, but keep your distance

Candie Vander Mark of Glenwood Springs spotted this bull moose while camping up Four Mile earlier this fall.
Provided |

The return of moose to Garfield County is exciting for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts alike, but it also comes with the need for caution.

“Moose are wonderful viewing opportunities, but you certainly want to do it from a distance,” explained Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras. “The general rule of thumb with any wildlife is if they respond to your presence, you’re too close. Moose are very large, powerful animals. They do not fear people. If you cross the line where the moose feels you are a threat, you are putting yourself at extreme risk of severe injury.”

That’s even more important if you happen to have your dog with you.

“Moose see dogs as a wolf, and their response is to defend themselves aggressively,” Porras said. “That’s really the prime factor in almost all the incidents we’re aware of.”

That all may go without saying in Cicely, Alaska, but for most of living memory moose have been all but absent this far south. Over the last few decades, however, reintroduction efforts have begun to take hold, with an estimated 2,000 moose statewide.

The money for the effort comes from hunting and fishing licenses, but the intent is environmental and scenic, too.

“Moose were never plentiful in the state, but they were here,” Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will said.

Lately, he’s heard sightings of them in Four Mile, Thompson Creek and up the Crystal Valley.

“We’re getting lots of moose moving into the area,” he said. “They’re pioneering into new country.”

While it’s possible that some wandered down from the Flat Tops, Will suspects most of them are coming over from the Grand Mesa. He emphasized that moose aren’t just confined to wetlands they’re most often associated with.

“You can find them about anywhere in the high country,” he said. “They’re a very neat creature, just don’t try to take a selfie with one.”

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