The Colorado Wildlife Commission unanimously approved a regulation Thursday that bans the hunting or harassment of black bears in their dens.
The regulation was drafted by the Colorado Division of Wildlife following an incident in 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 did not prohibit hunting a bear in a den -- the incident sparked public outrage, generating angry emails and calls to state wildlife authorities.
Colorado Division of Wildlife Regulations Manager Brett Ackerman told the Colorado Wildlife Commission that the den-hunting ban was consistent with a primary objective of the division's strategic plan, which is to maintain and increase public support for wildlife and wildlife management by emphasizing safety and fair chase.
The new regulation will take effect July 1.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Black bear. Credit: Lynn Chamberlain / Utah Division of Wildlife Resources