Moose – singular or plural – being sighted near Glenwood
A new visitor to Canyon Creek is tall, dark and handsome – and a churchgoer, too.But if he sounds like someone you might want to fix up with your sister, think again.A moose is on the loose in Canyon Creek. Or perhaps two.People are spotting the species regularly in the residential area on the other side of South Canyon from Glenwood Springs.”Every day he’s here,” said Canyon Creek resident Cindy Stillman.She said a moose started showing up about a week ago. She’s seen him morning, noon and night, but mostly in the morning, when he drinks out of an irrigation ditch. “We just know because the dog starts going to town,” she said.
Meanwhile, a moose has been spotted around New Creation Church, just west of Canyon Creek. Pat Tucker, area manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said a nice photo of a bull moose by the church has made its way to the DOW’s Glenwood Springs office, though he’s not sure who took the picture.”He’s got small antlers, but he’s a big animal,” Tucker said.He’s guessing that the moose is a younger male. Young bulls like to wander in search of a mate or new territory, or just to explore, he said.Stillman thinks more than one moose may be roaming the Canyon Creek area. She said photos and eyewitness reports suggest that one has white legs, and the other doesn’t.”I think there’s two different pictures of two different moose,” she said.That’s the first Tucker has heard about multiple moose in the area.”It wouldn’t necessarily surprise me,” he said.
He’s happy to hear that any moose continue to be spotted in Canyon Creek. The first fall rifle season for deer and elk just opened Saturday, and it’s not uncommon for inexperienced hunters to mistake moose for deer and mistakenly shoot them.”We have that happen almost every year here in Colorado,” Tucker said.”He’s probably safer right in the Canyon Creek area than if he ventures back into the Flat Tops.”Moose are a rarity in Garfield County. One was reported around the mid-1990s in the Silt area. But Tucker said they have been spotted in the surrounding region. In the past few years some have shown up above Ruedi Reservoir, probably having come over from Twin Lakes. Others have been seen in Eagle County. One was mistakenly shot last year at Piney Lake above Vail.An estimated 1,000 moose live in Colorado, which is on the southern edge of what is believed to be the animal’s historical range. Concentrated populations can be found around Walden in North Park, in Middle Park and in the Creede area in southwestern Colorado.The DOW plans to reintroduce moose to the Grand Mesa starting this winter.Perhaps the Canyon Creek moose – singular or plural – will get there first.
For now, at least one seems content hanging around near Stillman’s house. She’s been enjoying photographing him and said he’s not causing many problems, though perhaps a few.”He’s eating a lot of the trees, I notice. He’s pooping a bunch; that’s all I see.”Though appearing young to Stillman, this moose is no munchkin.”He’s big to me, the biggest animal I’ve ever seen,” she said.She’s been excited to see the moose. “But I have heard they get really aggressive.”Tucker advised anyone coming across a moose to give it a wide berth and use a long lens to take pictures.”They’re used to being solitary creatures. I think their tolerance isn’t as good as it may be for other animals. They’re bigger than most anything we deal with.”
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Mario Ruiz came to Aspen Highlands from Bariloche through the ski patrol exchange as part of the Sister Cities program last winter. He quickly ingrained himself with the Highlands patrol. Ruiz was killed July 27 in an avalanche while working at his home ski area. The Highlands patrol is raising funds for his family.