“It’s Comin’ Right For Us!”

The AP reports via the Durango Herald:

A proposal set for its first hearing today would repeal a 1992 voter-approved initiative that prohibits hunting bears from March 1 to Sept. 1 and give the state Division of Wildlife authority to expand hunting dates.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative amid concern that female bears were being hunted in the spring, when they are taking care of their cubs. The initiative also banned hunting bears with dogs and baiting bears with food to kill them. The bill sponsored by Rep. J. Paul Brown would not eliminate those [latter two] provisions…

But a wildlife-rights group argues the bear population still is vulnerable and its numbers could dwindle fast if more hunting is allowed.

“Sure, if you wipe out the whole population, there’s going to be no conflicts” with people, said Wendy Keefover, director of carnivore protection for WildEarth Guardians.

So the biggest problem with Rep. J. Paul Brown’s House Bill 1294 is the fact that it repeals an overwhelming vote of the people to ban hunting of Colorado bears in springtime–as a statutory change, not a constitutional amendment, the 1992 vote can be overturned by the legislature. Which is all well and good, except that Republicans use previous “votes of the people” as a shield against criticism for all kinds of things they vote down, from fee hikes to civil unions. You’d think they would hold this vote of the people in similarly high regard.

True, not when it comes to “Obamacare” and Amendment 63 either. But that’s different.

And of course, Humane Society types are very upset that hunting of bears in springtime, when they’re most vulnerable after hibernation and frequently nursing cubs, could resume. As for Rep. Brown’s safety concerns? Well, there is this episode of South Park…

We’re just kidding. That’s a bad example of wildlife management, too.

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26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Middle of the Road says:

    Why are the “Humane Society types” worried about the resumption of spring hunts when Brown’s bill does not eliminate current provisions that forbid that?  

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLI

      In 1992, Colorado voters approved an initiated measure to place certain restrictions on the taking of black bears, including prohibiting the hunting of black bears between March 1 and September 1 of any year. The bill repeals that restriction, thus restoring to the wildlife commission the authority to determine appropriate seasonal restrictions on the taking of black bears.

      Looks pretty simple to me.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      Now I see why they are concerned.

      HB11-1294, even amended, does not leave those provisions intact. It leaves it up the Division of Wildlife and Wildlife Commission to establish the hunting season.

      SECTION 2. 33-4-101.3 (2), Colorado Revised Statutes, is

      amended to read:

      33-4-101.3. Black bears – declaration of intent – spring season hunting prohibited – prohibited means of taking – penalty. (2) During the period from March 1 through September 1 of any calendar year, it is

      unlawful for any person to take a black bear by any means including but not limited to firearm or bow and arrow
      THE COMMISSION SHALL DETERMINE THE APPROPRIATE SEASONAL RESTRICTIONS ON THE TAKING OF BLACK BEARS.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      over bait or with dog packs are not really spring bear-hunting tactics.  These two “hunting” methods are more typical during the late summer and fall hunts when bears are out foraging massively to lay on some winter fat before hibernation.  (Think about when bears become a “problem” in their foraraging among human habitations — it’s almost never in the spring, but in the late summer and fall.)

      The bill as I read it would allow the resumption of spring bear hunting (it’s not like J. Paul advocating to allow the aborting of fetus bears), but would not allow the resumption of the “hunting” techniques of baiting and dogs.

  2. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    I mean, I’m sure the people who voted for this silly old measure in 1992 (incidentally, it’s the first ballot issue that I remember caring about–I told all my friends to tell their parents to vote for it) had no idea what a grave danger baby bears pose. We’d better starve them to death by killing their mothers so they don’t gang up, Ewok-style, and steal J. Paul Brown’s family heirlooms en masse.

    Fer chrissake, this guy is just too much sometimes. I’ve refrained from trashing him in the previous “Cletus” posts because I was gratified by his vote on HB 1063, but this is really just ENOUGH ALREADY. If you don’t like black bears in your yard, lock your trash up. Simple as that. If you REALLY don’t like black bears, consider not moving into their territory, and support research programs like  the North American Bear Center that actually study bear/human interactions, bear population statistics, and how to reduce human/bear conflicts based on evidence and research, not “conventional wisdom” that is often wrong. (Example: Conventional wisdom says never feed bears; actual NABC research shows that feeding stations in their territory during lean years reduce conflicts with bears.)

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      he’s deeply concerned about the members of his flock — bears, leeberuhls, and non-believers?  Not so much.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        They’re foraging creatures that prefer fruits, berries, nuts, and your trash. Only starving to death bears would ever even consider attacking a living, moving sheep for food. If he’s having bear problems, he’d get a quicker resolution by supporting an NABC-style feeding station proposal to stop them from starving, along with perhaps suggesting to the DoW that they issue more bear licenses in the voter-approved hunting season.

        • Leonard Smalls says:

          FACT: Bears are the most dangerous animal known to man.

          FACT: Bears are well-known to be as blood-thirsty as Moammar Qadaffi, as prone to random acts of violence as Ted Kaczynski, and as cunning as Pierce Brosnan.

          Anyone who denies these facts is either suicidal, a fool, or both.

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    or is it just another attempt to revoke regulations so the locals can shoot em up anytime they want?

    I have black bears around my house during the summer and love seeing them return.  It is a simple matter of keeping the trash picked up and it also it important to the health of the bears if you don’t let them eat tin foil or plastic bags.

    Of course if Cletus would support funding of forestry programs maybe the bears would have healthy ecosystems so they wouldn’t have to forage around human communities to survive or be killed.  Just saying

  4. Gilpin Guy says:

    s/b Cletus could support funding

  5. pistol says:

    Firmly believe that administration of the bear population is best left to the DOW; not to referendum.

    While bowhunting, my encounters with bears/fresh sign are commonplace; a somewhat rare occurence 15-20 years ago.

    Specific areas of Colorado do have problems, inevitable with an increasing population. Fully understand that most are benign, but several encounters the last few years indicate many have lost fear of humans.

    That, along with ever greater numbers, concerns me greatly.

  6. HadEnough says:

    The proposed bear bill is ridiculous for several reasons.

    1.  J. Paul Brown is a Sheep Rancher, you say the word Predator and every one of them runs for cover!

    2.  Colorado doesn’t have a bear problem, it has a human problem!  If people would STOP doing the things that attract the bears, there would be NO problems.  I live with them year around, 1 problem in 5 years, chased the big bad bear away, removed the bird feeders, and it did not come back.

    3.  Killing female bears in the Spring will also kill their cubs.  You kill one female, you kill 4 bears.  

    4.  They want to do this whenever and where ever.  It’s a very comforting thought that you could be out hiking anywhere and stand a chance of getting shot by a hunter or running into a wounded bear.

    5.  The DOW already has full authority to remove or destroy a problem bear.

    Honestly, if people don’t want to live with the wildlife in Colorado, why DO they live here?  

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