Wolf Update: Colorado Parks and Wildlife Locates and Collars Gray Wolf

The GPS collar will allow our biologists and wildlife managers to learn more about the travel patterns of wolves.
wolf M2101
Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff maintain watch over gray wolf M2101 after being tranquilized and fitted with a GPS collar. M2101 has been spotted in north-central Colorado traveling with gray wolf M1084 from Wyoming’s Snake River Pack.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has placed a GPS tracking collar on a wolf in the north-central part of the state. The wolf was confirmed in late January when it was seen with M1084 – a VHF-collared male wolf that entered Colorado in 2019 from the Snake River wolf pack in Wyoming. 

“The GPS collar will allow our biologists and wildlife managers to learn more about the travel patterns of wolves that are coming into the state,” said Dan Prenzlow, Director, Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “VHF collars are useful for locating an animal but the more advanced GPS collar will allow us to get a much better understanding of the animal’s movement, range and behaviors.” 

During the collaring effort, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife-contracted company netted the animal from a helicopter and used a tranquilizer so that a collar could be placed. The wolf was able to get loose from the net and headed north toward Wyoming. The animal was subdued just inside of the Wyoming state line.  At that time, the wolf was collared and staff remained with it until it was alert and mobile. Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff notified Wyoming Game and Fish of the operation and the crossing of the border. 

“We appreciate Wyoming Game and Fish,” Prenzlow said. “I understand this work impacts them and wildlife don’t understand where our dividing boundaries are.”  

“The newly collared wolf is a four-year-old male weighing approximately 110 pounds,” said Brian Dreher, terrestrial section manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The wolf was given a health exam during the collaring process and appears to be in good health.” 

Wolf Tracks
In Colorado, gray wolves remain a state endangered species, and may not be taken for any reason other than self-defense.

Colorado voters approved a ballot measure in November 2020 that instructs the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to prepare a plan and reintroduce wolves to western Colorado. To learn more about the wolf reintroduction process, please visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website

Gray Wolf Listing Status

On Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, the Department of the Interior announced a rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) from federal protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) nationwide. The rule was published in the Federal Register on November 3, 2020, and went into effect on January 4, 2021. 

Now that wolves are delisted from the ESA, states and tribes resume the management of the species, and state statutes/regulations apply. In Colorado, the species remains a state endangered species, and penalties under C.R.S. 33-6-109, including fines, jail time and/or a loss of license privileges apply. 


Written by Rebecca Ferrell. Rebecca is a Statewide Public Information Officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

6 Responses

  1. Can I ask what the purpose is for CPW to be collaring a wolf that is travelling with a wolf that was already collared by WY G&F. Is it CPW plan to collar each and every wolf that makes it to this state?

    1. M1084 is collared, but the VHF unit in place has now passed its warranted lifespan. The new collar on M2101 will provide additional data and an alternative tracking option.

  2. Over the line in Wyoming is open season year round no license required. I’d much rather hear of a necropsy than a collar.

  3. WE HAVE HAD WOLFS HERE IN COLORADO FOR YEARS, IN 1992 I LIVED OUT IN THE BACK COUNTRY WHERE THERE WAS VERY FEW HOUSES. ONE NIGHT I HERD A LOUD CLATER OUT SIDE, IT WAS AROUND 12: 30 AM, I LOOKED OUT MY BEDROOM WINDOW ( IT WAS UP STAIRS ) AND THERE WAS A BIG BLACK WOLF IN MY TRASH CAN THAT WAS BESIDE MY HOUSE, HE/SHE LOOKED UP AT ME WHEN I OPENED THE WINDOWAND ALL I SEEN WAS THIS LONG SNOUT WITH A LOT OF TEETH LOOKING UP AT ME GROWLING.

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