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Bear Hunting In Colorado

Hunting Methods - Fair Chase

​Colorado was once home to black, brown, and grizzly bears. Determined to wipe out every bear in the Colorado Mountains, early settlers began killing bears with no restrictions. In 1979, the last grizzly bear in Colorado was killed, leaving only black bears.

When Did Bear Hunting Start In Colorado?

Black Bears have had a hunting season since 1935.

Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear Management Units)?

Colorado is broken down into Game Management Units (GMU's) There are two sections for Bear Hunt GMU's- All Bear License GMU's and Private Land License GMU's.

All Bear License GMU's include - 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 39, 40, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 70, 75, 77, 78, 104, 131, 201, 211, 231, 301, 391, 461, 481, 500, 501, 511, 512, 561, 581, 591, 751 & 771

Private Land License GMU's include - 14, 25, 26, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 50, 51, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 70, 75, 77, 78, 104, 131, 361, 391, 421, 444, 461, 471, 500, 501, 751 & 771 

When Is Bear Hunting Season?

Dates of each season vary from year to year. For dates of each season, visit here -

  • Archery:  Sept. 2–30

  • Muzzleloader: Sept. 14–22 

  • Rifle (Limited): Sept. 2–30 

  • Rifle: 1st Season- Oct. 12–16

  • 2nd Season- Oct. 19–27

  • 3rd Season- Nov. 2–10

  • 4th Season- Nov. 13–17

What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Longbows, recurve bows or compound bows on which the string is not drawn mechanically or held mechanically under tension, that uses arrows with a broadhead having a minimum width of 7/8-inch and have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds.

Firearms: Centerfire Rifles with a minimum of .24 caliber and a minimum 16-inch barrel and at least 26 inches long; Semiautomatic Rifles with a maximum of six rounds are allowed in the magazine and chamber combined, and must use expanding bullets that weigh a minimum of 70 grains; Handguns with a .24-caliber minimum and must be at least 4 inches long; Shotguns with a minimum 20 gauge and fire a single slug, and a Barrel must be a minimum of 18 inches long. 

Muzzleloaders: Muzzleloading Rifles that are a minimum of .40 caliber and single barrel that fires a single round ball or conical projectile, round-ball bullets must be a minimum of .50 caliber. 

Note: Fully-Automatic Rifles are prohibited

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

No. Killing cubs or mothers with cubs is illegal. 

Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

No. Baiting of any kind is prohibited.

Is Dog Hunting Permitted In Colorado?

No. Use of dogs is not allowed.

What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

Each hunter must attach the Hunter Tag portion of their hunting license to the carcass, signed and dated before transported to a vehicle. The upper part of the tag must be removed and held onto by the hunter who killed the bear. The pelt and head of all black bears must be presented to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer by the hunter within five days of the kill, with proof of sex still attached. 

What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women

What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW)

When Does The Colorado Parks and Wildlife  Hold Their Meetings?

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife hold one meeting every month. The dates, times and locations are posted here-

Are The Meeting Open To The Public?

Colorado Parks and Wildlife does hold Public Meetings and encourages the public to be involved as much as possible. Public meetings will be posted here -

Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and Colorado's elected General Assembly Members have the authority to introduce and vote on proposed law changes. 

John V. Howard- Chairman of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission.

Groups And Organizations That Oppose Bear Hunting.

WildEarth Guardians -

Center For Biological Diversity -

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

Colorado Bowhunters Association -

Ivory and Antler Outfitters -

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