Brown nixes spring hunt in bear bill

DENVER – Rep. J. Paul Brown said Thursday he will amend his bear-hunting bill to forbid killing the animals in the spring.

Brown, R-Ignacio, is seeking to partially overturn a 1992 ballot initiative that allowed bear hunting only after Sept. 1. House Bill 1294 would give the wildlife commission the power to set the hunting season.

After outcry from animal advocates, Brown said he will amend the bill to forbid hunting in March, April or May.

“I didn’t intend for it to be a spring hunt anyway,” Brown said.

The Division of Wildlife’s chief testified his agency probably would push for limited bear hunting in August, and Brown said that plan matches his intent to give the DOW more power to target problem bears.

His bill leaves in place the voter-approved bans on killing mother bears with cubs or hunting bears with bait or dogs.

The full House is scheduled to debate the bill Monday.

jhanel@durango herald.com