Input Sought for Colorado, Grand Mesa Bear Management

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking public input on the development of bear management plans for hunting units on the Grand Mesa.

During the month of May, wildlife managers will host public meetings in Grand Junction, Hotchkiss, Rifle and Collbran to provide information on bear management and seek public comment on how to maintain a healthy bear population while reducing bear conflicts. The areas up for discussion include Game Management Units, 41, 42, 421, 411, 52, 53, 63 and 521.

"Wildlife management is based on science and research, but the public's input is critical in making final determinations," said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. "We strongly urge Colorado's citizens to participate in managing their wildlife."

Bear management plans will also consider input from various land management agencies.

At the meetings, members of the public can learn about the current and historic status of black bears on the Grand Mesa, and wildlife managers will ask for input about future objectives and management strategies, including trends in population size. Meeting population objectives is typically accomplished through hunting, a proven and effective management tool.

"Because conflicts continue to be a concern for our citizens, it is vitally important for them to participate in managing their bears," said terrestrial biologist Stephanie Duckett. "We really encourage interested members of the public to come tell us what they think."

Four public presentations are scheduled, all between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

- May 7 - Northwest Region Service Center, 711 Independent Avenue, Grand Junction - Main conference room

- May 14 - Memorial Hall - 149 East Main Street, Hotchkiss, CO - Entrance on 1st St.

- May 15 - Rifle Fire Department - 1850 Railroad Ave., Rifle, CO

- May 16 - Plateau Valley School Auditorium, 56600 Hwy 330, Collbran, CO

A paper survey will be available at each of the presentations. In addition, there will be an electronic survey available on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website beginning April 27.

To find the online survey, go to www.wildlife.state.co.us click on the "Hunting" tab, then click on "Big Game" on the left-hand menu, then scroll down and select "Herd Management Plans"

The survey can also be found by clicking on this link:http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame/HerdManagementDAUPlans/Pages/HerdManagementDAUPlans.aspx