Marble moose sighting raises brows |

Marble moose sighting raises brows

Rounding a bend outside Marble last week, Dan Brumbaugh saw something he had never seen before in seven years as a backcountry guide.A moose was bedded down next to a trail up to Lily Lake. Moose were reintroduced to Colorado in the late 1970s and have been relocated since then to Grand Mesa, a sprawling backcountry between Rifle and Grand Junction.Sightings are rare in this area but are increasing. In the past couple of years, the animals have been seen everywhere from Difficult Campground east of Aspen to Canyon Creek west of Glenwood Springs to near a Wal-Mart in Rifle.Reports of moose are not that unusual, said Kelly Wood of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.Still, Brumbaugh was taken aback when the moose popped up as he guided four others on a horseback trip. He watched the animal from 25 yards away.”I was so stunned. They’re darker than elk or deer, and they’ve got that big, bulbous nose,” he said. “I was just shocked.”The moose, far from panicking, ambled away over a ridge. He said the animal wasn’t very big, and he speculated that it may have been a yearling or a little older.It didn’t have antlers and Brumbaugh couldn’t tell its sex. It had a yellow tag in one ear.Moose are rarely dangerous – although one did kill a 92-year-old Grand Lake man who was walking to church last month. Wood advised anyone who crosses paths with a moose, which can weigh as much as 1,400 pounds, to back away quietly.The sightings have continued in the Crystal River Valley, not only of moose, which have been seen twice since, but other critters as well. A lynx has been spotted twice, and a mountain lion was seen in Redstone, along with the normal numerous glimpses of deer and elk.”We’ve seen more game at this time of year than any time ever,” Brumbaugh said. “It’s amazing.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is

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