Drivers beware: Mating season for elk, moose

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DENVER (KDVR) — As Colorado hikers hit the road to see fall foliage, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding people that it’s also mating season for elk and moose.

“Really anywhere west of I-25 in Colorado you can see elk, Travis Duncan of CPW said.  “More animals are moving, so they might be moving across roadways.”

Duncan says the mating season known as the “rut” typically lasts through mid October for moose and elk; animals are often more aggressive during this time.  

The rut for mule deer and white-tail deer is mid to late October through mid to late November.  He says animals are often distracted during the mating season, posing a risk to drivers.

“[They are] more likely to be moving around during the early hours, around sunrise or sunset time,” Duncan said.

According to CPW, high crash areas involving wildlife include:

  • Interstate 70 (Floyd Hill, Mt. Vernon Canyon and Eagle)
  • US 285 (Morrison)
  • Highway 160 (Durango to Pagosa Springs and Durango to Mancos)
  • Highway 550 (north of Durango and from Montrose to Ouray)
  • Interstate 25 (Castle Rock to Larkspur)
  • Highway 82 (Glenwood Springs to Aspen)
  • Highway 36 (Boulder to Lyons)
  • Highway 93 (Golden to Boulder)

Duncan notes during the rut, elk and moose are thought to be under more stress than usual as more people are spending time outdoors during the pandemic.

“There’s even more pressure on wildlife right now, so give those animals plenty of space,” Duncan said.  “Follow those leave no trace principals and have a good time.”

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