37The Colorado Division of Wildlife is currently undertaking a multi-year moose introduction project on the Grand Mesa. As a courtesy, the Division of Wildlife is making hunters aware of the potential for mistaking moose for elk during this season.

There are now over one hundred moose on the Grand Mesa, and the chance that you could see a Moose in the other units where you hunt Elk in Colorado is increasing every year. Both moose and elk can both be found throughout the Grand Mesa and in many other units in Colorado… in all habitat types: neither species is limited to any one area of the Grand Mesa or other areas where Moose hunting is permited, let alone where you might think you would not see one of these great animals. Moose and elk can often be difficult to tell apart, particularly when the animal is in heavy brush or when it is only observed for a short time.

Moose can be distinguished from elk in several ways. Moose generally have a dark black-brown body with a thick, overhanging snout. They have a loose flap of skin, called a bell, on the bottom of the throat and lighter, whitish-gray legs. Moose are generally solitary and are not easily startled. Moose antlers are generally palmate, while elk antlers are branched. Because neither cow moose nor cow elk have antlers, antler shape and presence or absence is not a good way to distinguish your target. Elk have a tapered snout, a yellow rump, a chestnut-brown neck and a reddish-brown body. Elk may be found singly or in groups and will generally startle more easily than moose. All moose that have been transplanted as part of this study are ear-tagged and have a radio transmitter either as a collar or as an ear-tag.

The intentional killing of a moose can result in substantial fines and suspension of license privileges. Punishments generally tend to be harsher for intentional kills, for hunters who do not report mistaken kills and for hunters who leave the animal in the field and waste the meat. Hunters who notify authorities will generally receive more lenient fines and lesser penalties.

If you accidentally harvest a moose, or you observe someone who has, please contact Operation Game Thief at 1-877-COLO-OGT, or the Colorado State Patrol at 970-249-4392.

Enclosed with this letter, you will find a copy of the Division of Wildlife’s brochure “Elk and Moose Comparison”. If you have questions or concerns about the study, see an ear-tagged or radio-collared moose, or have any other wildlife related questions, please contact the Division of Wildlife office in Grand Junction, Colorado at 970-255-6100.

Thank you for your time and attention. Have a safe and successful hunting season.


Grand Mesa Wildlife Officers
711 Independent Ave.
Grand Junction, CO 81505

Photo of one of the Moose that was released and one that was born on the Mesa by courtesy of Phil Nesius