The howl of wolves returned to Colorado at the end of 2023, with the release of 10 wolves into the wild following a landmark voter-approved bill for reintroduction of the species to the state. With such a small number, you'd be very lucky to see one indeed – though not all Colorado residents feel that way, including a rancher who released footage of a wolf frolicking in the snow this week.
The video, which you can watch below, was captured by rancher Jodi Hill from a vehicle traveling on County Road 22 near Kremmling and shows the gray wolf running through the snow from a distance. Since the initial release of wolves, there have been few publicized sightings of the elusive animals.
According to reporting by 9News Denver, Hill says he is nervous about the sighting as he prepares for his cattle to give birth. Though just over half of Coloradans approved the bill, known as proposition 114, in November 2020, the reintroduction has not been without controversy.
In December, a federal judge declined to issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting the release of wolves after members of the Colorado cattle industry filed a lawsuit against Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an attempt to block the measure.
Those who oppose the plan cite concerns about their livestock, while supporters hope the move will restore biodiversity – an outcome that has been extremely successful with the reintroduction of wolves in Isle Royale. A healthy wolf population helps to keep moose populations under control, which in turn protects vegetation allowing other species to thrive.
The long term plan is to release between 30 and 50 wolves in Colorado over the next 3 - 5 years. Advnture has reached out to CPW for their comment on the hopes for the plan and is awaiting a response.
With so few wolves in the entire state of Colorado today, your chances of encountering one in the wild are miniscule, and they are likely to give you a wide berth.
In the very unlikely event that you do encounter a wolf in the wild, you can protect yourself by making yourself appear bigger, standing your ground, securing your dog and making noise by shouting, using your hiking whistle or banging your trekking poles together. Learn more in our article on what to do if you encounter a wolf on the trail.
All the latest inspiration, tips and guides to help you plan your next Advnture!
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.