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Colorado approves draft regulations prohibiting hunting bears in their dens

March 11, 2011 | 10:48 am

A black bear peers through the brush. Colorado Wildlife Commission officials have approved the draft phase of regulations which, if passed, would prohibit the hunting of bears in their dens.

The commission approved the draft regulations at their meeting Thursday in Denver. The final vote will come at the May 5 meeting in Salida, Colo., and if approved will become effective July 1.

The den-hunting restriction proposal was drafted by the Colorado Division of Wildlife following an incident last November in which hunter Richard Kendall of Craig, Colo., tracked a large black bear to a cave, entered the cave and killed the animal.

Although the killing of the 703-pound bear was legal -- Colorado hunting regulations currently do not prohibit hunting a bear in a den -- the incident sparked public outrage, generating angry e-mails and calls to state wildlife authorities.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A black bear peers through the brush. Credit: Steve Hillebrand / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service