In Montrose, we are lucky enough to have access to all sorts of wildlife, including some rather large animals.

I’ve encountered some of those larger species in my time here, and I’m not just talking about cows or horses.

I was driving to Oklahoma many years ago, and before I even got to Gunnison, I went around a curve on Highway 50, only to find a huge bull elk standing in the middle of the road. I quickly hit the brakes and managed to stop. The elk, on the other hand, waited until I stopped completely, and then took his time getting off the road. He looked at me like he had won some sort of challenge. I’ve read that a bull elk can weigh anywhere from 400-1,000 pounds. I think that one tipped the scale closer to the 1,000-pound mark.

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A few years ago, we went on a camping trip. We were up on the Uncompahgre Plateau. My girls and I decided to take a morning hike. This is not something I’m usually in favor of, especially early in the morning. However, my girls, as usual, woke up very early and wanted to explore our surroundings.

We ventured out of the camper in search of an elk. My husband was scouting the area that he would be hunting in that year. Sure enough, about 100 yards from our spot, we found ourselves in a small meadow area. We saw a 6-point bull elk. He jumped through the meadow and went on his way. We didn’t even have time to take a quick picture.

We ran back to our campsite and the girls excitedly told their dad about what we saw. He grabbed his cup of coffee, and we headed back to the meadow to see if any more were nearby.

On our walk back, we heard a noise in the bushes nearby. This time it wasn’t an elk. We told the girls to stay very still until we could see what it was. A black bear made its way out of the bushes, just about 12 yards in front of us. We all stood still, with both girls clinging to my husband. Once the bear disappeared into another bush, we quickly walked back to camp. The girls were so excited that we’d seen a bear. Luckily, we thought, it was about a two-year-old cub and not a full-grown bear. Here’s a fun fact, that I didn’t know about black bears – according to the International Association for Bear Research and Management – even though black bears are usually black, they can also have brown, cinnamon-colored, or even white coats.

Another time, when we were driving to Gunnison, we saw a baby moose near the highway. We’ve also seen some coyotes, many mule deer, and a few Colorado big horn sheep in our travels.

The one animal I’m glad we haven’t seen, up close and personal, is a mountain lion. They are majestic and beautiful animals and can be found on occasion in our state. According to Wildlife Informer, they compiled data taken from state government websites, and other sources to compile a list of the number of mountain lions in each state. Colorado has the largest population with up to 7,000 in the state. Evidently, and thankfully, they don’t live really close to our house.

Sadly, when we’ve seen these animals, none of us had a camera at the time. Even if we had one, I think we’d have been too scared to remember to use it, especially when we saw that bear.

Colorado is home to some large animals

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