Wildlife agency also up bear licenses by 17 percent
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Colorado Wildlife Commission last week finalized regulations that ban hunting or harassment of black bears in their dens. The new regulation was prompted by an incident last year, when a hunter near Craig tracked a a large black bear to a cave, entered the cave and killed the bear.
The Craig bear killing elicited a critical public reaction, spurring wildlife managers to consider the change. The ban was first discussed at meeting in January 2011, when the commission directed staff to draft a new regulation. The regulation was reviewed in March and approved the commission last week in Salida.
Even though den hunting is not common in Colorado, the Division of Wildlife monitors issues which Colorado citizens may find do not meet public expectations of fair chase, Brett Ackerman, Colorado Division of Wildlife regulations manager told the commission in January, explaining that numerous other states have banned den-hunting on the grounds that it does not meet public expectations of fair chase.
Commission Chairman Tim Glenn said during that meeting that the Commission considers regulations regarding hunting ethics on a case-by-case basis.
“This is a perfect example of the kind of issue that the Wildlife Commission needs to look at,” Glenn said. “We talked about the importance of fair chase for maintaining public trust in what we do. That is absolutely critical, so for what it’s worth, I certainly think we do need to address this issue.”
Several commissioners wondered if the issue could be addressed by closing bear hunting seasons earlier, before bears would be expected to enter hibernation. But others said weather, elevation and geography all factor in to the timing of bear denning, which varies across the state. As a result, the Commission directed staff to draft a regulation specifically aimed at prohibiting den-hunting.
The coming year will also feature increased bear-hunting opportunities, said carnivore biologist Jerry Apker. The Division plans to boost licenses by 17 percent, mainly in seasons where hunters have enjoyed a high success rate, in hopes of increasing bear harvest by 20 percent. More bear info from CDOW: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/PlanYourHunt/ResourcesTips/BearHtgTips.htm.
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Environment, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | American Black Bear, ban on hunting bears in dens, bears, Colorado Division of Wildlife, hunting, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, wildlife