Black bears are pursued in all manner of take: rifle, archery equipment and black powder. The bear hunting season runs from the first week of September to the second week of November.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife requires that all hunter-killed bears be presented to wildlife officers within five days and data on age, sex and location of where the bear was killed is collected. This is an effort to monitor the number of bears killed, and the age, sex of animals taken by hunting. A small tooth is removed to determine age and how many times a female has given birth.
In 1992, the citizens of Colorado approved Amendment 10, which banned the spring bear hunt and outlawed the use of dogs and bait in hunting bears. Since ending the spring bear hunt there has been an increase in: the number of bear hunters, the number of bear hunters having success, the number of bears killed and the size of bears killed. In recent years, bear hunters in Colorado have essentially doubled pre-1992 harvest numbers.
State wildlife agencies report that there is little evidence suggesting that hunting has any affect on rates of human and bear conflict. Read what bear managers and researchers have to say about the use of hunting to reduce human-bear conflict.
STATEWIDE HUNTER HARVEST
Statewide, 1,172 bears, (688 males and 484 females), were taken in combined hunts in 2012. 13,672 hunters participated in the 2012 hunt for a success rate of 9 percent. Archery hunters took 170 bears statewide and black powder hunters took 57.
AREA 15 HUNTER HARVEST
In our area, Area 15 of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, hunter take in 2012 was 169 bears. The ten-year average for hunter take was 128 bears annually and the average for the past three years was 177 bears.
LOCAL BLACK BEAR MANAGEMENT PLANS
Read the Black Bear Management Plans for the two areas that make up Area 15 in our region:
- Black Bear DAU Management Plan: DAU B-18 San Juan
- Black Bear DAU Management Plan: DAU B-6 Dolores/Hermosa
Bear hunting photo courtesy: Colorado Parks and Wildlife