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Living with Moose in Grand County - by Sylvia Hensley

Until 20 years ago a moose sighting in Colorado was rare, but today the states moose population is growing thanks to the Colorado Division of Wildlifes reintroduction in the late 1970s Colorados Shiras moose range from 600 to 800 pounds for a cow (female) to up to 1,200 pounds for a bull (male). Despite their large size a moose can run at speeds up to 35mph and swim as fast as 6 miles per hour. Their cloven hoofs spread when walking in mud or pond bottoms to help displace their weight. They have long legs which allow their bodies to move through deep snow and thick vegetation. Their hollow hair holds air which helps insulate in winter and gives them buoyancy in the water. They can live up to 20 years in the wild. Moose have very few natural enemies. Their greatest threat is people from illegal kills. If the moose ears are up it means they are alert and curious; low, flat ears and a snorting sound equals an angry moose. Back away slowly. Moose are curious and often will approach people. Females are very protective of their calves and can be dangerous if approached. Bulls can be aggressive esp. during breeding season(rut)in the fall. When you encounter a moose use caution and common sense, stay calm, and slowly back off in the direction you came. Never approach a moose too closely. They have treed people and chased people away from territory they are defending. Since being transplanted the moose population has grown in Grand County and has become a recreational opportunity for people who enjoy watching wildlife.

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