Colorado Bans Hunting Denned Bears

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Following a record book bear hunt last fall, the Colorado Wildlife Commission unanimously decided to ban the hunting of bears in a den. The hunt sparked debate about hunting ethics and calls by some for increased regulation of bear hunting. The Denver Post has a write up about the new law and some additional changes for the upcoming season.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission unanimously approved a regulation Thursday banning the hunting or harassment of black bears in their dens. The new regulation, which takes effect July 1, is designed to "maintain and increase public support for wildlife management by emphasizing safety and fair chase."


groovy mike's picture

Colorado made a good call on this issue in my opinion.

The state of Colorado made a good call on this issue in my opinion.  I am generally against any further restrictions of hunting access, but I actually have no problem with this regulation / prohibition.  Hunting denned up bears has a long historical tradition in both Europe and the Americas.  But those hunts stem from a time when weapons were less effective and  the calories from a fat laden bear carcass in mid winter might mean the difference between life and death for a whole tribe or village.    But fair chase hunting has nothing to do with subsistence hunting when you are facing starvation.  We are not hunting to survive today – there is no self defense aspect of hunting a hibernating bear in its den.  So as far as ‘trophy hunting’ or putting anything in a record book of fair chase hunting trophies then hunting denned up hibernating bears is not an option.   You made a good call on this one, Colorado.  Thanks for sharing the information.


GooseHunter Jr's picture

While he did not do anything

While he did not do anything illegal I too feel that is not really on the ethical side.  They say a animal needs a safe place for some peace and quite.  But if you were hunting elk in the early morning and you come across them in their "bed" would that be the same as hunting them in the "den" so to speak.  No granted a den and bed are way too different things, but still their safe place.  With all that said a elk may bed in different spot nightly and a bear will return to the same den n ight after night and that makes them easier to hunt which is what I find to be unethical.  Just my .02.


I totaly agree. harassing or hunting bears in their dens is unethical and very unsportsman like!!!!!!!!!!!!

hunter25's picture

I have watched the reports on

I have watched the reports on this one in the local papers since this bear was killed and I agree this is not the way to get one but it's sad a law has to be passed to keep people from doing it. The whole story has made quite an uproar and the damage with the non huntning crowd has already been done. Because of all the press you would think that this was the only way people hunted them until this law was passed.

Onather reminder of the image we give while we are out there can go a long way to help or hurt our sport.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Glad to see this.  Not only

Glad to see this.  Not only is it not very "sporting" in my mind to shoot a bear out of it's den, but it also looks very, very bad to those people out there that do not know much about our sport.

And I know, we don't necessarily care about what animal rights groups say, because they will always be how they are.  However, the people we need to be concerned with are the people in the middle. 

yes, there are millions of americans that hunt, however, we are still in a minority.  If we get the people in the middle turned against us, it will be an uphill battle.  By "in the middle", I mean the ones who don't do it themselves, but agree with our right hunt.  If we start pi$$ing off too many of them, by posing with a "world record bear (shot in a den), and they change their votes, we're in deep trouble.

jaybe's picture

Yeah - I agree that it's not

Yeah - I agree that it's not a good hunting technique to hunt animals in their dens.

In Michigan, it has been a long-standing rule that you may not "hunt or harass wildlife in their dens" (or some wording such as that).

It hardly seems like fair chase to do that, and it gives the anti's one more thing to be critical of.