Colorado DOW Meeting for Gunnison Area Moose

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The Colorado Division of Wildlife has scheduled a public meeting Dec. 18 to discuss releasing moose in the Gunnison-Lake City area to augment existing moose populations.

DOW wildlife managers will talk about two plans.

The first is the release of moose in the La Garita Mountains between the Continental Divide and Cebolla Creek in Game Management Unit 67 to augment the small population that exists there now. The habitat in that area is considered to be suitable for moose and the DOW plans to release an undetermined number of moose there this winter. Currently, just west of the proposed release area, a viable population of moose occurs near Lake City in GMU 66. Two moose hunting licenses are issued for that area annually. The DOW hopes to allow some moose hunting opportunity in GMU 67 in the near future.

Second, the DOW staff will discuss the release of moose into the Taylor Park area within the next two to three years. It's estimated that about 20 moose live in Taylor Park; no hunting licenses are issued for that area. The DOW and the U.S. Forest Service will be studying vegetation there to determine long-term moose carrying capacity of the habitat. No decision has been made about if or when moose would be released at Taylor Park.

Moose moved into the two areas in the early 1990s, dispersing from the North Park and Creede areas where they were originally released in the late-1970s and early 1990s respectively.

The moose for the La Garitas will be transplanted from northern Utah where there is an abundance of moose. The animals are trapped by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and made available to the DOW. Moose will be given a certificate of good health, be fitted with radio collars and then transported via horse trailers and released as quickly as possible in the target area.

The DOW hopes to stabilize the existing moose populations in the LaGarita and Taylor Park areas. The transplants also will provide additional wildlife viewing and hunting opportunities in the near future.

Wildlife managers want to hear from the general public and livestock producers about any possible concerns with adding more moose in theses areas. Discussion at the meeting will be limited to the moose plans.

The meeting will be at the Fred Field Western Heritage Center, Gunnison County Fairgrounds, 7 p.m., Dec. 18.

For more information, call J Wenum, Gunnison area wildlife manager, (970)641-7060.