Friday, September 29, 2006

19 days away from Grizzly country??

The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is investigating a report of a grizzly bear sighting. The DOW has occasionally received reports of grizzly bears in the past, but to date, no report has been confirmed. The most recent report was made by two hunters who have past experience with both grizzlies and black bears. The sighting took place on Sept. 20 in the San Isabel National Forest near Independence Pass.

The two hunters reported watching a female grizzly bear and two cubs at a distance of about 80 yards for approximately a minute through binoculars and a spotting scope. The bears were observed in a clearing. The hunters were unable to find tracks or scat after the bears moved on.

On Sept. 23, three DOW officers searched the site on foot for physical evidence. No evidence confirming the presence of a grizzly bear was found. DOW personnel will make another attempt to follow up on the report later this week.

Based on a 1979 event, the DOW cannot discount the possibility of grizzlies existing in Colorado. On Sept. 23, 1979 an outfitter on an archery elk hunt, was attacked by a female grizzly in the San Juan National Forest. He survived the attack, but the grizzly was killed. Prior to that incident, it was commonly believed that grizzlies had been extirpated from Colorado.

For more information on grizzly bears please visit:
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Bear Identification Program
http://fwp.mt.gov/bearid/
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/species/mammals/grizzly/
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee
http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/wildlife/igbc/

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