In the early 1900s, only 40,000 elk remained in all of North America. The elk's dramatic demise was attributed to unregulated market hunting. With our partners, we have completed rigorous studies and relocation efforts and have managed to grow elk populations back to the thriving numbers Colorado enjoys today.
At over 280,000 animals, Colorado’s elk population is the largest in the world. Visitors come from all over the country to see these magnificent animals and to hear their distinctive bugle.
In 1916, Colorado imported 50 elk from Wyoming to re-establish dwindling herds. The elk were transported and released in Idaho Springs and the Greenhorn Mountains in Pueblo County. From these limited transplants, and through decades of trapping and relocation efforts by wildlife managers, elk populations have soared to the abundant herds for which Colorado is now famous.
CPW, in cooperation with partner groups, continues to conduct research, protect key winter range and migration corridors and improve statewide habitat to ensure Colorado's elk herds remain abundant for future generations.