Wildlife

Seven thousand feet up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Steamboat Springs is home to a variety of wildlife that range in size from large to small. Living with wildlife is a big reason many of us are here. But living together brings additional responsibilities. Whether here for a few hours or a lifetime, we must do all we can to co-exist and ensure that all wild animals remain wild. 

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Colorado Parks & Wildlife TipsColorado-Parks-and-Wildlife-logo11

Watchable Wildlife program offers the following tips and advice for rewarding, safe, and responsible wildlife viewing. (Download the tip sheet to take with you on your wildlife viewing trips.)

  • Observe animals from a safe distance—safe for you and safe for the animals. You can get a close-up view by using binoculars, a spotting scope, or a camera with a telephoto lens.

    • If the animals you are observing have their heads up, ears pointed toward you, or appear 'jumpy' or nervous when you move, you are probably too close! Sit or stand very quietly, without making eye contact, or move slowly away to a safer distance. 

    • Be especially sensitive to and cautious around adults with young. 

  • Move slowly and casually, not directly at wildlife. Allow animals to keep you in view and do not surprise them. Avoid eye contact; watch from the corner of your eye.

  • Never chase or harass wildlife. Harassment of wildlife is unlawful, and can be extremely harmful.

  • Leave your pets at home. At best, their presence hinders wildlife watching. Worse, they can chase, injure, or kill wildlife, or be injured or killed.

  • Use the animals’ behavior as a guide. Limit the time you spend watching if animals appear to be stressed.

  • Respect others who are viewing the same animals.

  • Respect private property. Ask for permission to access private lands before your viewing trip.

  • Animals at rest need to remain at rest. Don't do anything that might make them move.

  • Avoid animals that behave unexpectedly or aggressively. They may be ill, injured, or have young nearby.

Animals have a sense of what is, for them, a safe distance between themselves and other animals that might pose a threat (including humans!). If you intrude into what the animal(s) consider a safe distance, their behavior will change and they can become stressed, unnecessarily use energy, or face loss of time to rest or feed. Encroaching on their space can also trigger aggressive behavior. Never try to approach wildlife when they are clearly trying to move away and maintain safe separation.