Tue May 10, 2011
State Capitol

Bill to Expand Bear Hunting Fails

A bill that would have expanded Colorado's bear hunting season has died after the sponsor could not get enough votes to pass it in the Republican controlled House.

Representative J. Paul Brown (R-Ignacio) says his votes eroded and the measure will now die on the calendar when the session ends on Wednesday. It would have allowed the Colorado Division of Wildlife to expand bear hunts into the summer months.

“There’s just more and more human bear conflicts, and I believe that there’s a lot more bear in the state of Colorado than the division has admitted to,” says Brown.

According to the Division of Wildlife, the state’s black bear population hovers around 12,000. But there hasn’t been a comprehensive inventory since the mid 1990s. Many lawmakers argued against the bill, saying the state already allows ample time for bear hunting and does a good job of managing bears.

Others worried the bill would have violated the will of voters. A ballot initiative overwhelmingly passed in 1992 that bans black bear hunting from March 1st through September 1st.