A new map from Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) shows recent movements of 12 gray wolves living in the Centennial Sate. According to CPW, the map is based on GPS tracking data from “all known wolves in Colorado.” That includes 10 wolves that the state released from packs in Oregon back in December and two collared wolves that migrated into Colorado on their own in recent years, likely from neighboring Wyoming.

The map highlights all of the watersheds that newly-released wolves have visited in the last 35 days. Those areas stretch from Moffat County in the state’s northwest corner to the western edge of Larimer County, and south into portions of Summit, Eagle, and Garfield Counties. The data shows that at least two wolves ranged widely across northwest Colorado, “from western Routt County to eastern Moffatt.” As the crow flies, the eastern edge of Routt County is more than 100 miles from the western edge of Moffat County, which sits along Colorado’s border with Wyoming.

Deer Conservation photo

CPW Public Information Officer Joey Livingston tells Field & Stream that the recent wolf movements are consistent with expectations outlined in the state’s reintroduction plan. “In previous re-introductions in other states we’ve seen wolves travel anywhere from 20 to 140 miles from reintroduction spots,” Livingston said. “Within our draft plan, we created boundaries 60 miles from the northern, western, and southern borders of Colorado. The goal is to reintroduce within that 60-mile buffer zone—to try to make sure that they stay in Colorado.”

According to Livingston, CPW’s December release of 10 collared gray wolves from Oregon was just the first phase of the agency’s voter-mandated plan to put viable populations of wolves on the Colorado landscape. “We’ve completed our goal for this season and then we’re going to start another reintroduction in December of 2024,” he says. “The overall plan is to introduced 30 to 50 wolves over the next three to five years.”

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To keep pace with that quota CPW will have to release another 10 to 15 wolves this coming December and 10 to 15 more in December 2025. Though several Western game agencies have refused to provide wolves for CPW’s controversial release program, Livingston says the agency has struck a deal with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington State that will allow them to capture an additional 15 wolves in time for upcoming release deadlines.