The Indian Peaks and James Peak Wilderness areas are home to some amazing wildlife, including moose, black bears and mountain lions. Wild animals are unpredictable and can be dangerous when they feel cornered or threatened, so keep a respectful distance and keep your dog on a leash (its the law anyways)! Predators like bears, lions and coyotes can be dangerous when they become acclimated to human food or garbage, or when unattended small children or pets present easy prey.
In the last few years, the Indian Peaks Wilderness has been experiencing a significant increase in bear encounters - particularly at the Diamond Lake, Jasper, and Woodland Lake backcountry zones. The bears are associating the camp areas with food and are not fearful of humans. If you are camping in these areas there is a high likelihood you will encounter a bear. If you are uncomfortable, then don't camp in these areas! If you decide to camp, you should bring a bear proof canister for food storage or properly hang your food.
Moose are frequently seen in the IP/JP wilderness areas and moose encounters have increased statewide. They may look like gentle giants, but they are actually some of the most dangerous creatures you can encounter in the wild. Moose cows with their calves can become very aggressive when they feel threatened and have been known to chase and maul people and dogs (whom they view as wolves, their natural predators). Keep a safe distance and never get between a moose cow and her young.
Since 2013, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is aware of at least 15 moose conflicts resulting in minor to serious human injuries. In all but two occurrences, dogs elicited the initial response from the moose. Hikers have been seriously injured after their off-leash dog ran back to them after being chased by an aggressive moose. Remember, dogs must be kept on a leash at all times which can help prevent your dog from being attacked or chased by other animals. See Dogs in the Wilderness for more tips on how to keep your pet safe in the wild.
Visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife - Living with Wildlife page for more videos and tips on avoiding wildlife conflicts. Also check out the following brochures: