The Colorado Division of Wildlife is proceeding with a draft regulation that would prohibit the hunting, killing and harassment of bears in dens.
During a March 10 meeting in Denver, the Colorado Wildlife Commission directed the DOW to move forward with draft language of the regulation, which states that “no person shall hunt, take or harass bears in a den,” DOW spokesman Randy Hampton said.
The regulation will be up for final consideration at the wildlife commission’s May 5 meeting in Salida.
However, Northwest Colorado residents can weigh in on the issue during an April 7 workshop with the wildlife commission in Meeker, Hampton said.
Interested participants can come to the meeting and sign up to speak to the commission during the public comment session of the workshop, which is usually toward the beginning of the meeting.
A Craig resident’s recent killing of a bear in its den prompted the drafting and consideration of the regulation, Hampton said.
In late November 2010, Richard Kendall shot a 703-pound black bear after he tracked the animal to its cave in Moffat County.
Kendall said he shot the bear from about six feet away after entering the cave.
Currently, such an action is legal under Colorado hunting regulations, Hampton said.
The regulation currently being drafted is a wildlife commission regulation and would carry a $68 fine, if the wildlife commission gives final approval to the regulation in May, Hampton said.
There are other consequences that could come from violating the rule, Hampton said, including heavier fines.
“If someone violates a regulation in the act of then harvesting that animal, then that animal is then in violation of regulation, or in violation of statute depending on what they do, making the animal illegal to possess,” he said. “If somebody did something in violation, that could lead, depending on the circumstances … to seizure.”
Hampton noted the draft regulation is not limited to a range of dates or activities.
“If you start to limit dates and those things when the weather is so variable, that creates issues,” he said.
Kendall was issued a citation in early February for actions he allegedly took while killing the bear, Hampton said.
The DOW fined Kendall $68 for the use of artificial light as an aid in hunting the bear last year. Such an action is against the wildlife commission’s regulation, Hampton said.
Kendall has paid the fine. The DOW chose not to seize the remains of the bear, which remains in Kendall’s possession, Hampton said.
“He was issued a written warning regarding the unlawful take and the (DOW) is taking no further action,” he said. “The case is closed unless additional information comes forward.”
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.