Reintroductions have moose thriving on lofty Grand Mesa in Colorado

Great news!  Moose were already spreading southward, but they got an assist-

Moose on the rise in Colorado, Summit County. Colorado’s moose populations are growing, thanks to sky-high reintroduction operations. By Julie Sutor. Summit Daily news





  1. Michael Robinson Avatar
    Michael Robinson

    It is misleading to refer to translocation of moose to Colorado as a “reintroduction.” David M. Armstrong’s 1972 monograph “Distribution of Mammals in Colorado” states: “Moose occur in Colorado only as occasional wandering individuals in the north-central part of the state, and there is no evidence to indicate that the species ever has been represented by a breeding population.”

    It is striking that during many years while the Colorado Wildlife Commission vehemently opposed reintroduction of wolves and grizzlies to the state, it authorized moose introduction and its Division of Wildlife speculated the species would have colonized the state on their own if American civilization hadn’t intervened. Now, the DOW speculates that “Tribes and early settlers probably hunted them out.” Well, maybe tribes, though I’m not aware of any ethnographic evidence of moose hunting.

    As for early settlers, Edward R. Warren, in The Mammals of Colorado (University of Oklahoma Press, 1942), tracked all 19th and 20th century settler reports and rumors of moose that he heard of in the state, and summarized: “There have been reports of the occurrence of the Moose in Colorado, but nearly all lack confirmation, and are very doubtful, except the last two.”

    How have non-native moose introduced as far south as southern Colorado (some of which have even visited northern New Mexico), effected vegetative communities that may have survived the onslought of livestock? Colorado Division of Wildlife didn’t investigate before or after the fact.

  2. monty Avatar

    Moose are increasing in Colorado–with the help of humans & new habitat–while decreasing–due to climate issues or ticks–in parts of Montana, Wyoming & Minnesota. Please someone enlighten me!

  3. Art Jaqquez Avatar

    I was backpacking on Vallecito Creek, July 20, 2010 when I saw a moose crossing the creek between the second and third footbridge, about 10mi, north of Vallecito Lake, CO. If anyone is interested, I took several pictures of the Moose, which I have posted on Facebook.

  4. Bryanto Avatar

    It is my understanding that the Shiras Moose,the smaller native subspecies of the U.S. Rockies,was originally extremely rare,even in the northern rockies, including Wyoming and Utah,were there were only rumors with only a few specimens before 1900,but we know they must have been native because they are a unique subspecies. It seems that something severely reduced the numbers of moose in the region in the 1800. It seems to me that Native Americans with recently acquired horses and guns,as well as the trappers,could have had a significant impact on them,as they apparently did on Bison west of the continental divide,which apparently went extinct around 1840. The fact that there were a few specimens of moose in Colorado before 1900 indicated to me they probably were native,since I can’t imagine a moose wandering there from Utah or Wyoming,were they were also extremely scarce. I do not know if there are any archeological finds of them,although I have read that moose only moved south of Alaska after the Ice Age,about 12,000 years ago.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan