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Joined: 06/20/2011
Posts: 33
I have spent quite a bit of

I have spent quite a bit of my younger years in the south San Juan Wilderness. I never saw a grizzly not even very many black bear. I do know a few range riders near Creede along with some game wardens who claim they see grizzly every now and then. The game warden told me they just prefer these stories stay stories because if grizz ever were confirmed living in the San Juans the rest of us could say goodbye to hunting and grazing cattle there. The radicals in Boulder and the front range would shut the mountains down to protect the magical grizzly.

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san juans

Trifecta Outdoors wrote:

I have spent quite a bit of my younger years in the south San Juan Wilderness. I never saw a grizzly not even very many black bear. I do know a few range riders near Creede along with some game wardens who claim they see grizzly every now and then. The game warden told me they just prefer these stories stay stories because if grizz ever were confirmed living in the San Juans the rest of us could say goodbye to hunting and grazing cattle there. The radicals in Boulder and the front range would shut the mountains down to protect the magical grizzly.

San Juans is where the credible sightings have mostly come from.  I have no doubt that a small population of grizzly bears may survive there.  However I doubt that if it was proven that grizzly bears exist there the wilderness area would be shut down from public use.  Only the most die-hard outdoors people vernture very far into the wilderness areas anyway since they are roadless areas.  Not sure why they'd restrict hunting there for other biggame species. Confused Besides, it was already proven that a grizzly sow who had born cubs already existed in that area back in 1979.  Like I keep saying....those cubs have to be somewhere.  What about the father of those cubs?  There had to be at least one boar too. 

Joined: 06/20/2011
Posts: 33
They definately are up there

They definately are up there but I think what the game and fish were getting at with me is they do not want to deal with the drama. They don't want to deal with cattleman who would want them killed and environmentalist that would want them protected they would just rather let the grizzlies live in the shadows as long as possible.

Joined: 11/23/2010
Posts: 40
I Think you are right...

I think you are right. If there are grizzlies in SW Colorado then Colorado Game and Fish would quickly be the ring master to a three-ring circus. I grew-up in a ranching family and I have no doubt the bears would be hunted and the enviromentalist would clog the courts with injunction after injuction. Sometimes doing nothing IS the best thing to do.......Afterall, and I am not an expert, if there is a small populations of grizzlies, wouldn't inbreeding cause their demise and take care of the possible circus? Just my thoughts.

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I believe

A close realitive and lifelong colorado mountain goat has told me his story of a griz encounter in north central colorado. I have no doubts they are there.

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Good topic, interesting stuff

An interesting thread.  Interesting enough for me to sign up and throw my thoughts in as well.  I lived in Southern Colorado for a period of over 10 years from 1988-1999.  I did a lot of out door activities in the Sangre de Cristo range, lots of hiking and camping.  I never once saw a grizzly, and back then, I'll admit I likely would not have known the difference.  I saw a few pretty large black bears, some over 500 lbs if I had to take a guess.  

With that said, I would not doubt that grizzlies have survived in a small number in the San Juans.  Maybe a dozen or so specimens.  Until today, I had never heard of the "Ghost Grizzlies" book and am most certainly going to check it out.  Thanks for the info, guys.

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Joined: 07/22/2008
Posts: 184
  I have followed this thread

 

I have followed this thread from the start: now I am going to pipe in on this. Going to collage at Fort Lewis Collage (lots of fishing and hunting, classes kept getting in the way) in the early 80’s.  Did a lot of fishing on the Animas River, the days when you could take the DRSN&G up to the 2nd tank and get off, just be there the next day on the way back and they would pick you up.

One trip that me and my traveling partner went to fish Garfield Lake and found the lake north of Garfield. While traveling though the area we came across a set of bear track (Grizzle, spent the previous summer in Alaska, I know what a Griz is). We spent our time fishing and lying to each other about fishing. That evening as setting up camp on edge of lake, we both saw a young bore on the far side of the lake. We kept the fire burning  big that night and pistols close. We talked to a couple of locals that we knew about it, but they just said we were mistaken on what we saw. That was the Fall of 81’.

Late spring of 82’ I had a chance to go into the Weminuche wilderness area. I was helping a friend of the family with setting up some of his camps for the upcoming year (Yes he brought me to cut his firewood with a single buck). During that trip while riding in on horses, they started getting real spooky, down in a drainage, once again found fresh grizzle tracks. The Old timer that I was helping did not act like it was a big deal: but after that he stopped and pulled a bell out of the saddle bag, placing it around the horses neck and we kept traveling.  I did not see a bear, but as for sign and scraps on tree’s: Oh yes

Both areas are very remote areas, not that many people travel there. As for Grizzle in Colorado, Ask Game and Fish.

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Joined: 08/19/2012
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Sometime In the next three

Sometime In the next three years or so I'll take a summer off with my brother and some buddies and search for grizzlies in the san juans. We would be setting alot off trail cam on game trails and water sources in remote areas and hiking back out to pic them up. We'll try and do this over a big area as possible. We'll also be doing alot of fly fishing and maybe some elk hunting. Who knows maybe we'll find a Griz!

 

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I think northern colorado is

I think northern colorado is a little far off but over the next 10 years or so we'll definetly be seeing griz in north eastern utah coming in from wyoming.

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Colorado Grizzly photo

Just a few days ago I ran into a guy at the Colorado Springs Sportsman's Warehouse. We were talking about hunting, when he mentioned that his family owned a ranch near Weston Colorado west of Trinidad. I've hunted this area for black bears, and it's loaded with bears. In fact Bosque del oso an SWA is right across the road from his ranch. Bosque del oso means forest of the bear. Anyway I asked him how the bear hunting was down there. He said most years he has no problem filling his bear tag. That area is loaded with bears. So I asked him have you ever seen a bear that could have been a Grizzly? He got a little excited and pulled out his cell phone. He showed me a picture of a bear his friend shot in that general area. Wow I'd have to say, I'm almost positive it was a Grizzly. I was skepticle of his claims so I started asking questions. As it turns out when the local warden came to inspect his bear, he also called down about 10-15 other wardens to look at this bear after seeing it. They would not confirm nor deny it being a grizzly. Off the record there friend the local warden admitted that there were some Grizzlies in the area, and that they did not want it to get out. They let this guy keep his bear and went on their way! I guess it's easier to just say it's a blonde black bear and let it slide. The bears face was dished out, the snout was nice and long. It's hair was long and grizzled on it's back and legs. It was also very blonde and dark brown in color. It's face had shorter hair then it's body and was much darker then it's back. It's claws weren't that long for a Grizzly, but I'd guess the bear only in the 300 pound range. I didn't ask him if it was a male or female. I'm about 90% sure it was a Grizzly. The crazy thing is you really had to look at to see that was indeed a Grizzly bear. It didn't shout out at you, I'm deffinately a Grizzly bear when I saw the photo's. The really interesting thing is I have a book called Wilderness predators of the rockies. In this book it mentions that a grizzly bear was spotted feeding out of a dumpster by a bioligist from the u of new mexico near Raton pass several times. This was back in 1958. It mentions that that bear was eventually shot by a Colorado game warden. So maybe the southern Sangre de Cristo range mostly private is also Grizzly bear habitat. And that because it's private they have been hiding out successfully for many years. Let's face some high paying elk hunter would not be smart enough or qualified enough to know the difference between a grizz and big black bear. I'm sure at least some of these ranchers have always known there are some Grizz down there. But they like the state don't want to deal with the political fire storm that would come from them being discovered in the area.