Bear Hunting In Colorado

Screen shot 2014-03-14 at 11.50.50 AMPreviously regarded as pests, black bears in Colorado were declared a game animal in 1935 and afforded protection under state hunting regulations.

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, 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.


YEAR 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
HUNTER HARVEST 514 454 614 761 745 801 1074 1172 1106 1364 1214




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.


YEAR 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
HUNTER HARVEST 66 79 96 119 150 127 160 202 169 149 191




Read the Black Bear Management Plans for the two areas that make up Area 15 in our region:

Bear hunting photo courtesy: Colorado Parks and Wildlife