Steamboat Springs Do it for the moose, if not your own safety.
The onset of spring weather has led several moose into Steamboat Springs, with many sightings throughout the city this week.
Moose can be aggressive and dangerous, said Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton, and regardless of the damage inflicted by an agitated animal, local officials may be forced to kill any that attack humans.
So, for the sake of everyone involved, Hampton's advice is simple: Leave the moose alone.
"If people approach them too closely, there's a chance those moose will charge," Hampton said. "It is unfortunate, but when an animal is aggressive toward people, in a lot of cases, we end up putting those animals down."
Moose have been seen in Steamboat throughout the past week, with several animals wandering in the city's southern reaches. Their stay should be temporary, though, as they progress toward the high country during warmer weather.
"Steamboat has a great deal of willow trees within town along streams and river corridors," Hampton said. "Those willow stands are the preferred habitat for moose, so they're going to wander through that willow and those run all through town. They don't migrate as much as deer and elk, but as the weather warms up, they'll move to higher elevation."
Moose will try to avoid human contact, but they can be dangerous if disturbed, especially cows with new calves. They will charge and have killed people in Colorado, Hampton said. Relocating an offending animal with the help of a tranquilizer is an option - but one that is often difficult, he said.
A moose that had been charging skiers was put down at the Steamboat Ski Area near the Thunderhead Lift in February.
There's one simple way to ensure that doesn't happen again.
"If you get closer, you're risking disturbing that animal," Hampton said. "If you get closer for a picture or something, you are risking the life of the animal and your own life."