QUESTA, N.M. (KRQE) –   A northern New Mexico family got a very unexpected visitor in their yard on Monday: a moose. It has a lot of people talking because moose sightings in New Mexico are rare. 

Kevin Montoya says he never thought he’d see a moose in New Mexico – let alone on his property up in Questa. “We came around the corner, getting back to our house, our dogs had like they had seen a ghost. They had a blank stare on their face, and something’s going on.”

Almost a hundred moose were introduced into southern Colorado in the 1990s. Occasionally they wander into northern New Mexico. “Sure enough, we’re freaking out trying to get our cameras out to get a good video of it. And luckily, we got a video, but I don’t think nobody would have believed us if we wouldn’t have got the video,” said Montoya. 

According to New Mexico’s Department of Game and Fish, these moose sightings are rare. Ryan Darr works with the department and shares, “Over the past ten years or so, we’ve had approximately five confirmed moose sightings in the state.”

Moose periodically move into New Mexico looking for new habitats with new breeding opportunities – but they don’t stay long. “Generally, they find out that this is not the best place for them and turn around and head back to the north,” Dar said. “There’s no indication that moose are establishing a population in New Mexico, and the Department of Game and Fish does not expect an established population in the future.”

But the Montoya family says they’ll keep an eye out just in case.  “It was cool to see. I know that they’re… that it can be really aggressive. So I mean, definitely gotta watch out with the kids in the yard and stuff now.”

Moose can be very aggressive. According to Colorado’s fact sheet, you know you’re in trouble if the moose puts its ears back and rolls its eyes. The subspecies that lives there can reach up to six feet tall at the shoulders, weigh up to a thousand pounds, and run up to 35 miles an hour.