Bear kill prompts rule consideration in Moffat County


The recent killing of a 703-pound black bear by a Craig resident has Colorado Division of Wildlife officials considering proposing a change in hunting rules.

In late November, Richard Kendall shot a possible state record black bear after he tracked it to its cave in Moffat County. Kendall said he shot the bear from about six feet away after entering the cave.

Currently, such an action is legal under Colorado hunting regulations, DOW spokesman Randy Hampton said.

However, Hampton confirmed Friday the DOW was looking at taking the issue to the Colorado Wildlife Commission for discussion of whether a regulation is “prudent and enforceable.”

“What we discussed is, ‘Is there a need for a regulation in Colorado to prohibit this kind of action in the future?’” he said.

Hampton said hunting ethics factored into the DOW’s consideration of a rule against killing a bear in its cave or den.

“In this particular case, Mr. Kendall was within his legal right to kill a bear in den,” Hampton said. “There are additional questions that many people in the public have raised, and we are interested in finding out about those.”

Hampton said a Dec. 4 story in the Saturday Morning Press describing how Kendall shot the bear prompted the DOW to look further into the issue.

“Will other people see this story and say, ‘Oh, hey, never thought of that, and it must be OK because Colorado allows it?’” he said. “What we want to do is have that discussion with the wildlife commission.”

Hampton said there are several other states with regulations against shooting bears in dens or caves.

“People support hunting because it is, for the most part … based on sound principals of wildlife management and is based in the ethic of fair chase,” he said.

Fair chase, Hampton said, is one of the founding principals of modern hunting.

“There are many things with ethics of hunting that are not regulated,” he said. “For example, duck hunters will tell you that you don’t shoot ducks on a pond — you wait until they are in flight. You don’t shoot turkeys out of a roost and you don’t shoot bears in their dens.”

Hampton said ethical issues, such as shooting a bear in its cave or den, are not always regulated because they may differ slightly depending on the area. It is also something the DOW has rarely heard about occurring locally, Hampton said.

“In the case of killing a bear while it is defenseless, sleeping in its den, it is something that we as an agency had not heard of people engaging in,” he said.

Regulation may not be needed until an incident arises, Hampton said.

“Then everybody goes, ‘Whoa, OK, maybe it’s not as simple or as clear as we had believed,’” he said.

However, the ultimate decision on whether a rule would be developed prohibiting the shooting of bears in dens rests with the wildlife commission. The development of any regulation would take place throughout several months, he said.

“The wildlife commission doesn’t do anything without public input,” he said. “Passage of a hunting regulation occurs in an either two- or three-step public process.”

Hampton said the punishment or fine for violating any DOW regulation would be up to the wildlife commission.

“Yes, it could be a potentially small penalty, but the penalty allows the division to fully address what that violation led to,” he said.

Kendall declined to comment on this story, but said he would like to address the kill in a future letter to the editor of the Craig Daily Press.


OneFly 6 years, 3 months ago

This needed to be discussed. Good on Colorado DOW.

A perfect example why we need guvment in our lives.


als362 6 years, 3 months ago

When bears come into town and start killing your pets and mauling your kids, I want to see how many people will want them all killed then, no matter how it is done.
If a few deer scare these people so bad, I can't wait to hear what they have to say when bears come into town.
It wasn't very many years ago a bear was seen in Shadow Mountain, in the middle of the day, thay will be here, unless controlled.
When the whiners have their way, we all suffer.


Rebelgirl 6 years, 3 months ago

Really als???? You are comparing deer to bears? I do agree with population control but I do not agree with shooting an animal in its home environment. It is not sportsman like to trap a bear in a cave and then shoot it. No sport in that. I know bears are a common site in Steamboat I have yet to hear about them killing them off. I must make the point they were here first. Man is encroching on their land and their homes. What do you want (dare I say it, for fear you may have kids that have carried your genes) to tell future generations of kids? "Oh well see they were getting in the way and they may have become destructive and harm my dog so we as humans decided to wipe out all animals that may cause future problems". Yeah sounds like a great idea to me. There is a long stretch from bears coming into town and what the aritcle was about. But its you and you will have to argue about something. Now all we need to complete this article is for Justthefacts to pipe in.


als362 6 years, 3 months ago

The reason the bears are in Steamboat is because they are not hunted as they need to be. If people could hunt them now as they could prior to1990, the bear population would be down and the bears would not come into downtown Steamboat.
Yes, anytime I see and read about people being afraid of a deer, I will compare it to a bear, fear is fear. If you are afraid of what lives here please leave the area, you are not needed. If you are such a bleeding heart that a legal means of hunting bothers you so much, leave the area, you are not needed.


kathleenpost 6 years, 3 months ago

Im with Rebelgirl.Hunting is good,I have a gun,this makes me sick he killed a "Sleepy Bear".Not fair.Its like killing a badger in his home.What if this was a mother and babies? Once he entered the den ,he should have gone out and at least waited for the Sleepy Bear to come out and try to get him,Thanks for looking into it.It has made me very sad since it happened .I know hunting bears is OK for people that want to do it,but I was raised by Pikes Peak,and bears were everywhere all the time,no one ever got hurt. Once in awhile a summer cabin occupant from Kansas would panic and shoot one,but my mother walked all the way down a hill with one, thinking it was a dog and never got hurt.Im not saying they wont hurt you,but in 20 years living up close with them,they never hurt me or anyone I know.They were the one s that got hurt by homeowners that lived up high in the woods and some would panic and attack a bear,but no bears have ever hurt anyone there.Good luck changing that law.Rest in peace "Sleepy Bear"


onewhocares 6 years, 3 months ago

You go rebelgirl !!!!!!!!!!! You are right on. Man has become sooooooooo totally disconnected from nature that anything wild is a threat...........God forbid man doesn't have complete control (at least in their mind) over EVERYTHING......The complete & total irony being, men are the pedophiles, the drug dealers, the alcoholics & drug addicts that destroy families, the species that destroys its own environment, yet als362 & his supporters don't seem too concerned about that....Funny isn't it? I guess we should kill & destroy anything that can't fight back.

If you want to see dangerous, just look in the mirror als362 and the rest of you that are determined to destroy anything good, beautiful and wild, for you are the threat to mankind---not the bears and the wildlife.


daybyday 6 years, 3 months ago

The "many" are the thousands of hunters who live and hunt in Colorado, enjoy the sport, put food on their tables, help with wildlife management, and would not shoot a denning bear. The "many" are the majority who understand that wildlife who are typically afraid and attempt to avoid humans will lose their fear and enter residential areas when they are fed, through unsecured food and trash, and also those misguided and possibly well-intentioned folks who think they are helping wildlife by feeding them. The "many" are those who understand that bears enter dens to seek privacy and rest - not to murder your children and pets (ridiculous). I'd like to say that there are also "many" who fully understand that when they build and live in bear country, they will encounter bears...but of that one, I'm not convinced.


Lawspecialist 6 years, 3 months ago

If the bear would have killed him, or another human being, it would have been put down. Save the dogs, save the cats, save the whales, save the deer, save the bears. I'm not for being "inhumane", I just believe time could be better spent saving the "human beings".


needstoknow 6 years, 3 months ago

I think you all need to get a grip, an look at more important things like how the county spends your money an things like that.. Who cares he shot a bear OH MY!!!!! This is hunting country people.. You can't tell me that if it was you an you saw that size of a trophy, you wouldn't shoot it???? Come on.. Just like the deer crap, those deer hurt NO-ONE an it was a big deal because of some whinner's... GET A GRIP PEOPLE!!!!!


revolution 6 years, 3 months ago

All you hypocrites makes me sick. This man did nothing wrong. If it would have been a 200 pound bear this wouldn't have even been a problem. All you jealous hunters need to shut up! All your doing now is bringing more laws upon us. We cant use dogs to hunt bear, we cant bait bear, now we aren't going to be able to track bear in the snow. I love how this turned into "ehtics" i didn't know there was an ethical way to die, but i'm sure if there was, getting shot in the head from six feet away is better than having to be shot 6 times at 100 yards. Let's talk about our wonderful D.O.W "ethics;" they fly airplanes and shoot predators from the plane, if we do that we go to prison with 20 felonies. They kill any problem bear with the use of dogs, then they cut the bears head off, cut up the bears hide and let the meat go to waste. Sounds "ethical" to me. "Ethical" solution for deer "problem," blind them at night, in town, with spotlights and shoot them, because they are too lazy to trap them and take them out of town, turn them loose and give them a fair chance.


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