DOW to discuss black bear population with Moffat County residents

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What: Colorado Division of Wildlife public meeting about area black bear population

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 31

Where: American Legion Post 62, 1055 Moffat County Road 7 in Craig

Contact: DOW biologist Jeff Yost at 970-871-2843 or jeff.yost@state.c... to receive a copy of the draft management plan and provide comments

Northwest Colorado residents will soon have a forum to discuss ideas about living harmoniously with the area’s black bear population.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife will host a public meeting from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 31 at American Legion Post 62, 1055 Moffat County Road 7, on managing the region’s black bears.

The meeting provides an opportunity for local residents to give input to the DOW about the species and its presence in the areas north of Craig and Steamboat Springs, as well as all of North Park.

Landowners, livestock operators, hunters, homeowners and recreation enthusiasts are among the people invited to formulate plans for managing black bears in DOW game management units 4, 5, 6, 14, 16, 17, 161, 171, 214 and 441.

DOW spokesman Randy Hampton said the purpose of the meeting is to brainstorm with residents for long-term population goals.

“We want to be able to find out how to meet and maintain the populations based on the needs of the community,” he said. “That way we can lay out the science of what we’ve seen and what the people want.”

Hampton said the meeting is part of a statewide initiative to determine the needs of various communities. The DOW hosted a similar meeting in the Denver area earlier in the year.

Hampton added that the Northwest Colorado meeting was not called as the result of complaints about black bears.

“People have run-ins with bears now and then, but it hasn’t risen to the level that we need to do anything drastic,” he said.

Hampton said the planning sessions are on a smaller scale compared to the management of more prevalent species in Colorado, specifically deer and elk, the populations of which have given the DOW problems in the region.

“I don’t see the bear issue becoming the size of the deer issue,” Hampton said. “They don’t breed as fast, and they’re pretty much kept in check.”

Residents unable to attend the meeting can contact DOW biologist Jeff Yost, of Steamboat Springs, to receive a copy of the draft management plan and provide comments.

For those with further interests in area wildlife, Colorado Wildlife Commissioner Allan Jones will host a public meeting in Meeker to get local input on wildlife issues.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 24 at Mountain Valley Bank, 400 Main Street.

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