Colorado bowhunters, please grab a bear tag too

farmerboy1381

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Jan 19, 2018
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Something I have been seriously debating. I am going for Mule deer and will be spending most of my time at or above treeline in the southwest region of the state. Do I have a decent chance of seeing one at that elevation? Budget is a concern if it is an extreme long shot.
 

Pelican

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Fruita, Colorado
Something I have been seriously debating. I am going for Mule deer and will be spending most of my time at or above treeline in the southwest region of the state. Do I have a decent chance of seeing one at that elevation? Budget is a concern if it is an extreme long shot.
Typically the bears will be much lower than tree line by September as they will be eating acorns and berrys.
 

Oak

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Something I have been seriously debating. I am going for Mule deer and will be spending most of my time at or above treeline in the southwest region of the state. Do I have a decent chance of seeing one at that elevation? Budget is a concern if it is an extreme long shot.
Had a sheep tag in the SW part of the state a few years ago. Spent 22 days scouting and hunting above timberline in August and September and didn't see a bear.
 

RFVSkier

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Had a sheep tag in the SW part of the state a few years ago. Spent 22 days scouting and hunting above timberline in August and September and didn't see a bear.
In the last 10 years hunting high country rifle or muzzy hunts almost every year around here I've always had a bear tag and had a similar experience. But two years ago in Sept, the one year I didn't have a tag of course, I watched 3 bears spread out in a line about 400yds apart feed on a slope at 11,000. And not just the small ones that get pushed out of the good dumpsters in town and are forced to make a real living in the high country; one was a real stud. I think our valley is getting so crowded with them that they're being forced to spend September in places they normally wouldn't. Although the late frosts and snow will surely affect the berries so they may all be down in town this year anyway.
 

clharr

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Feb 10, 2018
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Anyone else get the email from CPW urging the purchase of a bear tag to go with your elk or deer tag?
 

smw110136

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North Platte, NE
Think anyone in Colorado regrets getting rid of the spring bear season 30 years ago? Millions spent on trapping and relocating problem bears, predation issues, urban expansion creating more human conflict, etc. Just curious what people think.
 

LuketheDog

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Sedalia, Colorado
I picked up a 4R deer tag for a sub-par unit in the leftover circus that allows me to pick up a concurrent season bear tag for a couple units that I've seen good bears in, I may just skip the deer hunt and hunt Yogi...
 

davinski

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Western Colorado
Think anyone in Colorado regrets getting rid of the spring bear season 30 years ago? Millions spent on trapping and relocating problem bears, predation issues, urban expansion creating more human conflict, etc. Just curious what people think.
Yes. Especially those who were/are against it from the get-go. Or the occasional person who gets chomped by one of our many bears. Managing wildlife at the ballot is bad juju any way you slice it. I did hear though that more bears are taken now than when CO had more bear hunting season-days. But I think that's solely because there's a crap ton more bears today.

CPW put out a great study a couple years ago about managing human-bear conflicts and provided recommendations. Recommendations, like cities and counties allowing hunting in semi-urban areas. I used that exact language to ask the CPW to hunt a local SWA but was denied...by CPW. Anyway, I'll slide away my soapbox, go home and fling some sticks into an ugly styrofoam black bear in my yard, and look for my two archery bear tags in the mail!
 
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wllm1313

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Yes. Especially those who were/are against it from the get-go. Or the occasional person who gets chomped by one of our many bears. Managing wildlife at the ballot is bad juju any way you slice it. I did hear though that more bears are taken now than when CO had more bear hunting season-days. But I think that's solely because there's a crap ton more bears today.
Don’t get me wrong I wish we had spring bear season, and I think the current season structure is a joke look at the lengths @LuketheDog had to go to, bear tags should be good sept 2- the end of November.... but, you hear the “well if we had spring hunting than we wouldn’t have all these bears” bandied around a lot. I can’t cite sources, I’m basing this purely on anecdotal evidence, but I think that in the 20-30s in CO we had almost no elk and very few deer, apparently massive big horn sheep herds, and at that time we had ridiculous numbers of predators. Starting in the 30s, possibly earlier CO basically declared war on predators, like many states, gloves off trapping, poison, no seasons on everything including black bears. We extirpated wolves in the 40s and grizz were most gone by 53, the very last in 79. The 60-70s were the deer hay day, Muley deer bounced back first, you could get three buck tags, and 2 month long rifle seasons. Then as elk came back they started out competing deer in many areas and that coupled with the generous deer hunting, greatly reduced the deer pop, that was maybe in the early 80s.

I’m not sure exactly when we started ratcheting down the predator hunting, but my father-n-law trapped bears with his dad when he was a kid, possibly those were depredation tags, I dk.

Since the 80s the bear population has steadily increased, unlike deer bears have low fecundity, it takes them a lot longer to bounce back than deer. Look at the MT grizzly population, it’s been a long time since they lost their season and it’s been only recently that numbers have gotten high enough to support a hunt.

My long winded point is that I think losing spring bear season has nothing to do with the boom in bear numbers, it just took them a long time to reproduce, and reclaim their old habitat. The carrying capacity of CO for bears was massively greater than their 92 numbers, the growth we are seeing is just the population recovering, we would have seen the same with a spring season. Only a war on bears, would have checked the growth.

-Please correct my knowledge where applicable...
 
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ChrisAU

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Jul 17, 2019
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Got one for 1st rifle to go with my elk tag. Will focus on elk, but if a small tasty one presents an opportunity close to camp...
 

davinski

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Jan 30, 2011
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Western Colorado
For what it's worth, Utah has an free online "bear hunter orientation" quick course that's actually pretty good for folks new to judging bears:


It helps show how to quickly ID the difference between boar and sow, etc. They make you pass it before bear hunting in Utah and not the worst idea in the world. Credit where credit is due.
 

ChrisAU

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For what it's worth, Utah has an free online "bear hunter orientation" quick course that's actually pretty good for folks new to judging bears:


It helps show how to quickly ID the difference between boar and sow, etc. They make you pass it before bear hunting in Utah and not the worst idea in the world. Credit where credit is due.
Thanks, I need to do this. I've never even seen a wild bear!
 

wllm1313

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Aurora, CO
Also just a heads up, some of the wilderness areas in Colorado are now requiring IGBC approved bear food storage containers.

You might not ever see a ranger, but it would suck to be walking in get checked and then get asked to leave since you don't have one.
 
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