Moose in Colorado and the San Juans
Where to see moose? There’s no guarantee of moose sightings in the San Juans. However, between Silverton and the ghost town of Animas Forks, a wonderful area of beaver ponds teaming with trout, many species of ducks, beavers, a moose might be seen somewhere along a forest road in the early morning and evening. In these hours moose forage for food, might even be playing in the water or crossing the Animas River heading up into the San Juan Mountains. Rarely visitors see big bull moose battling for dominance. Rare moose sightings have been reported in South Mineral Creek, just west of Silverton. From late-August to mid-October, moose (as well as deer and elk) are in mating season. Visitors looking for moose are recommended to keep a safe distance and not to bring along dogs. Moose view dogs as wolves and go after them. No one wants to be run over by a 1,200-pound moose.
In winter “ungulates” (large mammals with hooves) in the San Juans tend to hang out at lower elevations where there’s less snowpack and they can forage on grasses. In addition to sightings by tourists engaged in wildlife viewing, thanks to their reintroduction decades ago, moose provide an abundance of big game hunting opportunities in Colorado. Tens of thousands of hunters try to kill moose each year. Moose enthusiasts will be happy to know that hunters only manage to kill between 200 and 300 a year. Colorado’s moose population numbers close to 4000, three times the number just 15 years ago.