Colorado Parks and Wildlife took to Twitter on Monday around noon to warn the public about a bull moose that had been spotted roaming the golf course at the Country Club of Colorado, located in the area of Highway 115 in Colorado Springs. While it's not odd for the public to be warned about an animal that may be prone to aggressive behavior, it's a bit odd that there's a warning about a moose in the Pikes Peak region.
ATTN! @COParksWildlife asks people in #ColoradoSprings to avoid the Country Club of Colorado area along Highway 115. A bull moose is roaming the golf course. Moose are large & powerful. Do not approach! It's especially important to keep dogs away! Video courtesy Kathy Symonds pic.twitter.com/NHaNRgNM09— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) July 19, 2021
While many people assume that the moose is a native species in Colorado, a stable population wasn't present in the state until wildlife managers started to relocate animals to northern Colorado from Utah in 1978. Prior to that, the only moose in Colorado had traveled there from a bordering state. In 1979, 12 moose from Wyoming were brought to the Centennial State, with the Colorado moose population continuing to thrive after that.
Moose were later moved to the area around Creede and now numbers are so high in some areas that hunting of the species is offered, including in North Park, Middle Park and the Laramie River area. That being said, even with 3,000 moose statewide, they tend to rarely be seen as far south on the Front Range as Colorado Springs, even more rarely in urban areas.
The spotting of a moose on a Colorado Springs golf course is an example of the moose's increasing range in the state. It's part of a growing trend, similar to other incidents from the past year, including when a moose was spotted near the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and another time when a moose was frequenting the mountain town of Manitou Springs.
Nearby and to the west, the Teller County moose population is said to be thriving. In a 2018 report published by the Colorado Springs Gazette, wildlife manager Tim Kroening estimated that 45 to 55 moose were living in the large rural area, many of which had traveled to the area from Park County in recent years, over Wilkerson Pass and through Lake George while on their way to the Pikes Peak region. It's likely this number has grown since.
The formal addition of the moose to Colorado's ecosystem is typically considered a success, though some concerns have been raised about the impact that their rampant willow consumption can have in riparian zones, which serve as an important interface between land and a water source.
As Colorado's moose population continues to thrive, it's likely that more moose-human interactions will occur. Because of this, it's crucial now, more than ever, for people to know what to do when they spot a moose. For starters – remember that bull moose and cow moose protecting young can be particularly aggressive. For this reason, it's important to always keep your distance. The presence of a dog can tend to be a trigger for moose aggression, making it very important to keep dogs leashed and under control when in moose territory.
It's important to note that moose can be particularly aggressive during breeding season, which takes place from mid-September through October.
Sometimes it can be possible to tell when a moose is going to charge by watching their ears. Ears pinned back means a charge is likely. If charged, run and try to put something between you and the moose.
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