01/04/2011 03:09 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Colorado Wildlife Commission May Ban Hunting Bears In Dens


DENVER (AP) -- Bear hunters say it's unethical to kill a hibernating bear in its den. But after a northwest Colorado hunter killed a black bear in a cave last month, Colorado wildlife officials are moving ahead with a formal ban on den hunting.

The state Wildlife Commission decided unanimously Wednesday to draft a new regulation making clear that bears cannot be killed in their dens. The regulation could become law by March.

The ban was proposed after a hunter sparked outrage last month when he climbed 6 feet into a cave and killed a 703-pound black bear.

Many called the kill unsportsmanlike, though it's not clear whether the bear was hibernating. The hunter, Richard Kendall of Craig, Colo., maintains the animal was awake and snarled at him before he shot it.

Still, wildlife managers say a ban on den hunting would promote ethical hunting.

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The Colorado Division of Wildlife has drafted a plan to ban the hunting of bears in dens after a Western Slope man bagged one of the state's largest black bears in it's cave.

The Division of Wildlife's draft proposal will be considered by the Colorado Wildlife Commission on Wednesday, January 5.

The move to ban the practice of hunting bears in their dens stems from a November incident in which a hunter from Craig, Colorado crawled into a cave and killed a 703-pound black bear. The bear may have been the largest ever killed in the state.

While the hunter's actions were technically legal, many objected, claiming that he violated the hunting principle of "fair chase."

According to the , several other states already have laws in place to ban the hunting of bears in their caves