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October 7, 2011
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Hunter shoots huge bear near Fraser

FRASER -A large bear rumored to have been frequenting neighborhoods in the vicinity of County Road 8 in the Fraser Valley was legally shot and killed by a hunter on Sept. 27.It was the first bear for veteran hunter Jim Holohan of Fraser. "We all knew in Fraser it was there," Holohan said. "It wasn't hard to hunt it."The bear's girth was measured at 5 feet, with a length 7 feet from nose to tail, Holohan said. The bruin weighed 600 pounds dressed out and stood up to 9 feet tall. His skull size was 20.75 inches. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has not confirmed the measurements, according to Mike Porras, spokesperson.But according to Holohan, local Parks and Wildlife officers and hunting outfitters have told him it could have been the largest bear taken in Grand County. Holohan said he won't know for a month whether the bear is a contender for being one of the state's largest.The bear was so large, when he stood he was able to rest his paws on the level of a second-story deck at the home of Roger May, of Winter Park Ranch. When May was packing the car for a trip late one night this fall, the same bear entered May's garage and took a snowblower glove for something to chew on, May said. Recently back from an Alaskan trip during which he saw grizzlies, May said the Fraser bear "was one of the biggest bears I've ever encountered here, ever."The unofficial state record is a 703-pound black bear that was shot by Craig hunter Richard Kendall in the fall of 2010. Kendall killed the bear while it was resting inside its den. "Kendall didn't break any laws at the time," Porras said. Yet since the incident raised questions of safety and fair chase, wildlife officials subsequently made it illegal to kill a bear in its den. Kendall was only fined for using a flashlight.State records kept on bears sizes are technically by skull size and not by weight, Porras said."There are some big bears out there," he said.Bear No. 2May encountered another bear recently at the Stop & Save in Winter Park, where he is manager. Around midnight, May was taking trash out after work when he noticed a bear trying to break into the Dumpster about 20 feet away. The bear stopped, then ran past May, onto Highway 40. When he turned, May yelled at him, and the bear continued on."My adrenaline kicked in, and I finally found my voice," he said.May described the bear as adolescent. The same bear had gotten into the Stop & Save's outside freezer by tearing the lock off and opening the door. "He ate our stash of donuts, four cases," May said. The bear population in Colorado is increasing, Porras said, which prompted the Colorado Wildlife Commission to increase bear harvests by 20 percent this year.During last year's hunting season, 28 bears were legally harvested from Grand County."We lose a lot of bears to a lot of things, like conflicts with humans or getting hit on the roads," Porras said. "We would prefer that hunters take them legally as opposed to that happening."Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603


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The Sky-Hi News Updated Oct 7, 2011 05:35PM Published Oct 7, 2011 05:27PM Copyright 2011 The Sky-Hi News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.