JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — As moose populations continue to increase around Colorado, residents of communities along the Front Range may see more of these animals closer to home.
In the past few months, moose have been reported from Golden to Evergreen. One was even captured by a wildlife camera in a Jeffco Open Space Park.
Last weekend, one was spotted at Waterton Canyon, where bighorn sheep are commonly seen, but moose are rare.
Travis Thompson with Denver Water, which maintains the 6.5-mile dirt road in Waterton Canyon, said the department’s recreation staff has seen a moose in the area recently. The chances visitors will see it are rare because it is staying in a remote part of the canyon.
“But, if recreationists do encounter the moose, or any other wildlife, it is extremely important that they keep their distance as they are very aggressive and unpredictable,” Thompson said.
Until the late 1970s, moose were rare in Colorado. They would wander into northern Colorado from Wyoming every so often but never stayed long enough to establish a stable population, according to CPW. That picture is much different today, several decades after CPW started transplanting the animals into the state in 1978. Since then, the population has become one of the fastest growing in the lower 48 states. CPW estimates that about 3,000 moose call Colorado home today.
Because of that increasing number, they may be forced to new territories to call home, which could explain the increase of sightings in Jefferson County.
Moose are very large animals — ranging from 800 to 1,200 pounds, with bulls standing about 6 feet tall at their shoulders — and can be aggressive, even if unprovoked.
CPW recommends keeping dogs on a leash and only observing moose from a safe distance. If one does notice you, speak softly and calmly and move away from it. Should it charge at you, try to put something — a tree, a rock, a structure — between you and the animal. For more information on what to do if you encounter a moose, click here.
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