DENVER Rep. J. Paul Brown has introduced legislation to overturn a voter-approved ban on spring bear hunting.
Browns House Bill 1294, introduced Thursday, would partially repeal a 1992 ballot initiative that limited banned bear hunting between March and September. His bill would give the Colorado Wildlife Commission the authority to set dates for bear hunting.
The number of bears has increased greatly since the 1992 election, in some regions by a factor of four, said Brown, R-Ignacio.
These bears theyre coming into town. Theyre not afraid of people, he said.
HB 1294 leaves in place much of the ballot initiative. It would still be illegal to bait bears, to hunt them with dogs and to kill mother bears with cubs.
I know some people are going to come out and say all I want to do is kill bears. I dont. I just want to head off a catastrophe that might happen, Brown said.
The Legislature can modify or repeal the 1992 voter-approved initiative because it was a statutory change, not a constitutional amendment. Voters approved it 70 percent to 30 percent.
Browns bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture Committee. It has not been scheduled for a hearing, and the House will be busy with the budget all next week.
The Humane Society of the United States supports spring bear-hunting bans, but a representative from the group did not return a call by Fridays deadline.
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