The state House is considering a bill to shorten the bear hunting season to key months and add a significant precaution to protect cubs, which would certainly aid in keeping Colorado’s population in check and protect high country campers.
Sponsored by Rep. Yeulin Willett and other Republican lawmakers, the measure would allow hunting in August when bears are most active, and close within a three month window. Currently, the season extends from September through February.
There was no vote on the bill Monday, and it was instead shipped over to the study committee for further
Willett told 9News last week that hunting is a better option than the accepted practice of dealing with nuisance bears.
Wildlife officials have to kill bears due to conflicts with people, and landowners sometimes kill the bears when they cause trouble.
“A lot of times, the bear carcasses are dragged to the dump or left to rot,” Willett said.
His proposal would also permit the use of liquid scents to attract bears, and allow hunters to get close enough to determine if it were a female with cubs.
There were a number of serious attacks last year, including a woman who was mauled in an Aspen alleyway. Other incidents at campgrounds prompted threats from federal land managers to restrict access to certain public lands.
The bill deserves thoughtful attention from lawmakers to deal with overpopulation, before more people get hurt or the feds come in and shut down backcountry public lands.
The issue is not a joke, despite this tweet from Democratic Rep. Joe Salazar to a reporter covering today’s hearing.
— Rep. Joe Salazar (@HouseSalazar) February 9, 2015