Three Moose Set Free On The Grand Mesa, DOW Wants Herd To Grow To 200

The Colorado Division of Wildlife released three moose onto the Grand Mesa Wednesday. It's the start of what will eventually be a self–sustaining population of the large animals in the area. The cow and two bulls gave invited moose lovers quite a sight in the morning hours.

The DOW had been hoping to release more than three of the animals Wednesday, but of the six that were caught near Creede Tuesday, three died after being captured. However, the three who survived won't be alone on the Mesa for long. DOW workers hope to bring in another twenty moose from Utah late next month. Because these large beasts are unpredictable, shotguns loaded with bean bag rounds were kept at the ready, but all three animals loped off into the snow showing little interest in the crowd gathered.

It's debatable whether moose ever lived on the mesa in the past, but the area's wildlife manager, Dean Riggs, said the animals should not impact the ecosystem the way herd animals like elk would. The moose released Wednesday are wearing either a radio collar or ear tag that will help the Division of Wildlife keep track of their whereabouts.

The goal of the relocation is to give locals a thrill, boost tourism, and eventually give sportsmen a new animal to hunt in the area, but restricted hunting will probably not be allowed until the population gets up to 150 or 200 head.

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