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A Belated Mother's Day Victory for Colorado's Bears

From WildEarth Guardians, June 2011

In 1992, 70% of Colorado voters passed Proposition 10, the citizen initiative that banned black bear hunting in springtime. Voters believed that hunting mother bears with dependent cubs was unethical, and they still do. Hundreds contacted their representatives. Your work made a difference.

The sport hunting of black bears does not reduce human conflicts.

House Bill 1294: Dead On Arrival – Bear Cubs Safe!

Last month, a Durango sheep ranching legislator introduced a bill late in the session. He wanted to sneak in an edict to allow the spring-time hunting of bears. Imagine hunting mother bears with newly–born cubs? Sick!

You spoke out and the bill intended to kill bears has been killed instead.

Representative J. Paul Brown tried to mess with Colorado’s baby bears and felt a sharp rebuke from active Coloradoans. While Brown’s bill passed through the House Agriculture Committee and initially in the GOP-lead House, it did not muster a 3rd hearing - because you kept the lines to the Capital lit up.

Your calls and emails to the State House stopped this bill! You helped protect dependent black bear cubs.

In 1992, 70% of Colorado voters passed Proposition 10, the citizen initiative that banned black bear hunting in springtime. Voters believed that hunting mother bears with dependent cubs was unethical, and they still do. Hundreds contacted their representatives. Your work made a difference.

The sport hunting of black bears does not reduce human conflicts.

Killing black bears to prevent human conflicts is not supported by the biologists who study them, including Tom Beck, the Division of Wildlife’s now-retired bear biologist who wrote:

Hunting has not been shown to be effective at reducing bear-human conflicts. Rather, the key is to keep bears from ever having access to human food.

People should avoid attracting bears in the first place. For example, putting out garbage on the morning of collection, avoiding bird feeders in summertime, and feeding pets indoors. Personal responsibility provides the key to human-bear co-existence.
Highly-intelligent, curious, and opportunistic, black bears are Colorado’s largest native carnivore, and yet 90% of their diet comes from plant materials. They’re omnivorous carnivores who eat mostly flowers, grass, nuts, berries, and rodents.

Bears reproduce very slowly. A female typically does not breed until she is five years old and so every cub counts.

Thank you. Many more cubs will live to see next year’s Mother’s Day because you cared about bears enough to make a call or send an email.

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