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Bear Hunting in Colorado

Discover the Thrill of Bear Hunting in Colorado.

Colorado, with its vast and rugged terrains, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, especially hunters. One of the most exhilarating experiences for a hunter in this state is bear hunting. However, venturing into the wilderness for such a pursuit is not just about taking aim and pulling the trigger. There’s an art, science, and ethics to it. This guide aims to shed light on bear hunting in Colorado, offering you invaluable insights, tips, and precautions to ensure a successful and safe hunt.

Understanding Colorado's Bear Population

The Species

There are primarily black bears in Colorado, but don’t let the name deceive you. These bears come in various colors – from jet black to cinnamon and even blonde. Their versatility in color is just one testament to the wonders of nature in the state.

Where to Find Them

Bears predominantly reside in the dense forests, especially those laden with oak, aspen, and berries. However, encounters can also occur near urban areas, particularly where human food sources are readily available.

License, Season & Regulations

Obtaining a License

Colorado mandates every hunter to obtain a bear hunting license. Applications are usually made available from early March, with a limited number of licenses issued based on specific bear management units.

Bear Season Dates

The season typically starts in early September, extending through late November, divided into various methods of take: archery, muzzleloading, and rifle. Each method has its own set timeframe, so it’s crucial to stay informed. But remember, dates can vary, so it’s always wise to check with the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) to stay updated.

Quick Notes

  • Baiting: Using bait to lure bears is prohibited.
  • Female Bears with Cubs: It’s illegal to hunt sows spotted with cubs.
  • Daily Bag Limit: Only one bear can be harvested per day.

Bear Tooth Extraction

As part of your mandatory bear harvest inspection, a CPW wildlife officer will perform a bear tooth extraction.

Essential Gear for Bear Hunting

While hunting bears, it’s not just about bringing down the animal, but also ensuring you do so ethically and humanely. High-powered rifles are typically recommended. However, if using archery, ensure your bows pack enough punch.
Elk River Guns

Respect the Animal

Always aim for a quick, humane kill. This not only minimizes suffering but also preserves the quality of the meat.

Avoid Wasting

Utilize as much of the bear as possible. From its meat to hide and even bones, be resourceful in your harvest.

Carrying Additional Protection

A crucial tip for bear hunting in Colorado: always carry a sidearm. There may be instances when your first shot isn’t ideally placed. In such situations, a backup firearm is essential, not just for a potential follow-up shot but also for your safety.  You never know what you might run across in the woods.


Optics and Scouting

Good quality binoculars and spotting scopes can be a game-changer. They help in locating and judging the size of the bear from a safe distance.

Bear Behavior Know-How

Understanding bear behavior can spell the difference between a safe hunt and a dangerous encounter. Remember, a startled or threatened bear can be incredibly unpredictable.

Campsite Caution

When setting up camp, ensure food is stored securely and away from sleeping areas. Bears have an acute sense of smell and can be attracted to your site.

Bear hunting in Colorado is a thrilling yet challenging endeavor. With the state’s rich bear population and majestic landscapes, it promises an unforgettable experience. However, preparation, respect for the animal, and adherence to safety practices are crucial. So, gear up, stay informed, and tread the Colorado wilderness with a sense of responsibility and adventure.

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