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ESTES PARK WILDLIFE

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Rocky Mountain Elk

Cervus canadensis

Elk, also known as Wapiti - are the second largest member of the deer family. Mature bulls (males) weigh 700 to 1,000lbs! Cows (females) weigh about 500lbs.

Frequency of sightings:

99% of tours

Important Dates:          

Elk Rut: Late August to Mid October

Antlers Shed: Late February to Early May

Calves (babies) Born: June

Velvet Stripped: Mid August

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Mule Deer

Odocoileus hemionus

Mule Deer, who who given their name by the Lewis and Clark Expedition for their overly large ears, are the only local deer species. Bucks weigh around 300lbs and does weigh 150lbs.

Frequency of sightings:

95% of tours

Important Dates:          

Deer Rut: Late October to November

Antlers Shed: Late January to April

Fawns (babies) Born: June

Velvet Stripped: Mid to Late September

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Shiras Moose

Alces alces shirasi

Moose are the largest members of the deer family in this area. Bulls weigh up to 1,400lbs and cows weigh up to 1,200lbs. Bulls have antlers that weigh up to 50lbs!

Frequency of sightings:

50% Spring, Summer, & Fall Tours; 15% Winter Tours

Important Dates:          

Moose Rut: Mid September to October

Antlers Shed: Late December to Early January

Calves (babies) Born: June

Velvet Stripped: Early to Mid September

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Bighorn Sheep

Ovis canadensis

Bighorn sheep are light brown in the summer and dark brown in the fall and winter.  Rams weigh up to 500lbs and ewes weigh up to 200lbs.

Frequency of sightings:

15% of Tours (unless on a fall sheep tour)

Important Dates:          

Sheep Rut: November

Lamb (babies) Born: June

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Black Bear

Ursus americanus

Black bear are the largest predator in Colorado.  They are not found frequently on our tours or in our area though they have a robust population within the state.  Black bears in Colorado have exceeded 700lbs. Contrary to the name, black bears can be black, brown, cinnamon, and blonde.

Frequency of sightings:

5% of Tours

Important Dates:          

Mating Season: Late April to May

Cubs (babies) Born: Winter in Dens

Hyperphagia: September to mid-October

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Merriam Turkey

Meleagris gallopavo

Turkeys are the most commonly found large bird we photograph.  While there are several subspecies of turkeys in our area the most common in our area is the Merriam followed by the Rio Grande. Males are called Toms and females are called Hens.

Frequency of sightings:

30% of Tours, 90% in April and May

Important Dates:          

Mating Season: April to May

Pults (Babies) Hatched: June       

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Coyote

Canis latrans

Coyotes are the most common member of the Canid (Dog) family in Colorado. Boars (males) weigh up to 60lbs and bitches (females) up to 40lbs.

Frequency of sightings:

10-20% of Tours

Important Dates:          

Mating Season: January

Pups (Babies) Born: May

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Bobcat

Lynx rufus

Bobcats are our most frequently spotted feline species in this area.  Toms can weigh up to 40lbs and Queens can weigh up to 30lbs.

Frequency of sightings:

3-5% of Tours

Important Dates:          

Mating Season: Winter to Early Spring

Cubs (Babies) Born: April to May

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Red Fox

Vulpes vulpes

The red fox is the largest of the true fox species and also the most widely distributed in the US.  Males are called Tods or Dogs, females are called Vixens, and babies are called Kits.  They can weigh up to 30lbs.

Frequency of sightings:

1 or 2 Tours Per Year

Important Dates:          

Mating Season: January to March

Kits (Babies) Born: April to May

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Mountain Lion

Puma concolor

The mountain lion, aka cougar, is a large feline predator.  While they are well populated across Colorado they are rarely seen in daylight hours. The picture is of three cubs illuminated by headlights. Males are called Toms, females are called Queens. Babies are called cubs or kittens.

Frequency of sightings:

Never Yet Seen During Daylight Hours On Tours

Important Dates:          

Mating Season: No Definitive Mating Season

Kittens (Babies) Born: No Definitive Timeframe

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Yellow Bellied Marmot

Marmota flaviventris

A commonly found rodent - especially in the alpine tundra and other rocky locations.

Frequency of sightings:

90% on Tours Above Timberline

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American Pika

Ochotona princeps

A commonly found small rodent - especially in the alpine tundra and other rocky locations.

Frequency of sightings: 90% on Tours Above Timberline

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