Breckenridge is not just a haven for ski- and snowboard-lugging visitors. The natives of this beautiful landscape include black bears, mountain lions, moose, elk, deer, red foxes, porcupines, and an aerial array of around 50 species of bird. Those looking for wildlife should keep a cautious distance and refrain from providing snacks, knowingly or otherwise, to animals in the area.
Anyone venturing outdoors is likely to encounter a few of the animals, like deer, red foxes, coyotes, and many bird species, on their trip. We highly recommend visiting Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve to anyone hoping to spot wildlife. Fido will have to sit this one out, as dogs are not allowed in the park.
BEARS, MOUNTAIN LIONS, AND MOOSE, OH MY
These three large mammals are the most dangerous that one is likely to spot in the Breckenridge area, although they are generally reclusive and shy away from humans. Bear and mountain lion sightings are not uncommon, however any danger can usually be avoided by keeping a fair distance and making noises as you go. If the sightings occur at closer distances, talk to the animal in a soft yet assertive tone without making eye contact, and back away slowly while making yourself look big or spread out. Food and anything with food or sweet-like fragrances should always be stored or disposed of appropriately.
A bear’s sense of smell is 7 times better than that of a bloodhound’s. Human food is detectable from about 5 miles away for a bear, and their intelligence and curiosity often get them in trouble. Finally, stay away from cubs, as mother bears are very defensive and may charge perceived threats to their offspring. Children and pets are most at risk from mountain lions. These large cats hunt at dusk and many of the dangers associated with them are usually prevented with adult supervision and presence. Children should be kept close, ideally located between adults, and pets should always be on a leash.
Moose should always be avoided. Contrary to a popular cartoon, the real Bullwinkles of the world are not overly friendly. Normal moose behavior dictates flight rather than fight in an encounter with humans. Distraught or upset moose, or moose feeling threatened by unleashed dogs, however, can charge. Many charges are bluffs, bringing harm only to your now ruined undergarments, but in this situation, move quickly and seek protection from trees and boulders.
While coyotes don’t typically threaten humans, they are becoming increasingly desensitized to human presence, and will often frequent areas where they have relied on human food. Feeding them is illegal. Coyotes may also pose a threat to your pets, and have been known to prey on dogs and cats that are left to run free.