No sign of Colorado grizzlies, search is suspended

The Colorado Division of Wildlife has ended its search for the grizzlies reportedly seen near Independence Pass unless another sighting occurs. The search has yielded no clues. Hunters were told to be careful not to mistake a moose for an elk, a lynx for a bobcat, and a grizzly for black bear in the upcoming big game season (Oct. 14) and the various seasons for other animals that extends into December.
Story in the Aspen Times. 10-8. Note this link is now dead.

Try this. Associated Press. No sign of grizzlies.






  1. Linda Hunter Avatar
    Linda Hunter

    . . helicopters usually don’t encourage bears to come out into the open. . and ground searches should be good trackers. . there are some great trackers in Colorado who belong to the International Society of Professional Trackers. ( Unfortunately, those of us who are very familar with bear tracks of both black and grizzly bears don’t have the funds to go flying around and volunteering.

  2. Joe Avatar

    Re: Grizzlies in Colorado…..there are two stunning grizzley specimens at the Denver zoo. Check them out….they are awesome.

  3. vicki Avatar

    I’ve actually heard locals and even a ranger talk about a few grizzlies being seen in an area I frequent in the summer…in Colorado. I’ve never seen one, but if there were a grizzly corridor to Colorado, this area would be a part of it.
    I never say never. If wolves have made it here, who’s to say grizzlies won’t. But, I wait for positive confirmation.
    There isn’t much habitat for grizzlies here. I doubt they’d thrive.

  4. Chuck Avatar

    I’m currently reading David Petersen’s GHOST GRIZZLIES. I am having a hard time finding a list of recent sightings – the book is over 10 years old. If anyone can point me in the right direction I’d appreciate it.

    Ralph, I used to read your website years ago because I was interested in the Yellowstone wolves. Nice to bump into it again while looking for information on the “ghost grizzlies” of the San Juans….

  5. vicki Avatar

    I was talking with some friends the other day who hunt elk in the San Juans. They say they have seen some huge beras there, but hadn’t paid much attention to tracks as they thought there were no grizzlies in Colorado.
    There is no confirmation theat grizzlies are there, just locals who have speculated.
    We actually questioned the possibility of inbreeding during the conversation, as we now know there is verified inbreeding of brown and polar bears.
    Perhaps the last grizzlies may have inter-mingled? Who knows… anything is possible I guess.
    I have been told, as the above post states, that grizzliesare in certain areas bordering the northern part of Colorado. There have been some folks who say they have seen them up there, and knowing the area, it would be possible for a bear to move in from Wyoming and no one would be the wiser.
    I believe that bears and wolves probably travel down, but without confirmation/identification, verifiable location, and an active bredding population, no one will likely see them more than once before they move on, or go back to where they came from.
    I know of one expert who has said Colorado could support a healthy wolf population, but there is no place here for grizzlies anymore. Sad, but he may be right. If there was a place, the San Juans or the North Park area would be the right habitat….but the human encroachment snuffs out about all hope left.

  6. Catbestland Avatar

    I live in the San Juans and I am convinced that I saw a yearling grizz 16 years ago in what was then called the Big Blue Wilderness, now the Uncompahgre Wilderness. I have seen lots of bear and this one was different than our usual black bears. There are lots of hunters and ranchers that claim there are still some hold outs in the Big Blue, the Weiminuche and Lizardhead Wilderness areas of the San Juans. These areas are extremely isolated and the terrain so rugged that they are difficult to reach by any sort of vehicles. Last year there was a fire visible from my home that could not be reached to fight. They couldn’t even get to it with ATVs, so I believe it is possible that there are still some grizzlies there.

  7. vicki Avatar

    That is so cool. I wish I could have seen that. You are fortunate indeed. I wonder about it a lot, are they here? Are they hidden in the hills?
    Maybe we will never know, and this is one of the rare times that not knowing might be a good thing.
    Do you think there would be much chance of anyone ever getting verification? (ie. a photo, paw print, fur?)

  8. Catbestland Avatar

    I am always looking for prints. I don’t get back into those areas as much as I used to but I am making a sincere effort this year to do just that. There was also a story floating around about the same time (16 years ago) that a grizzly had been killed by hunters in the Big Blue with a Yellowstone tag on it. I don’t know if that was ever verified. When I talked to Wildlife Officials, they neither confirmed or denied it. They don’t deny that they may be there. They rigidly dinied the existance of wolves until just recently. Many people have claimed that they have seen wolves in the San Juans. I know some of them. But alas, I have never seen one. I won’t give up though. I saw a HUGE coyote recently that I at first hoped was a wolf. It even acted and moved like a wolf. These are some of the most rugged and inaccessable mountains in the lower 48 so it possible that wolves and grizz could still be there, undetected by humans. We can always hope.

  9. vicki Avatar

    One of the people who told me that there were browns in the North area was a ranger. But he swore me to secrecy. I have friends who say they have seen numerous wolves, if you email me I can tell you where, but I won’t post it. They won’t talk about it in order to keep them safe.
    I look for tracks a lot too. I have yet to see any, but I did once see some huge tracks…. no defined print, it was very wet, and they were in a puddle. I wondered about them.
    I may be buying some land in the San Juans soon. We’ll have to get together and exchange info.

  10. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Vicki when you see those tracks that are not very defined you can still have a chance at animal identification if you measure them to the best of your ability and try and find a few others to establish the amount of space between them and the pattern. What trackers call the stride is very indicative as well as the straddle and the minimum outline measurement of the width and length. It can at least narrow it down for you. If you haven’t already, start packing a small measuring tape.

  11. Catbestland Avatar

    Where in the San Juans are you looking to buy. It is a large area with lots of wilderness. I think it is some of the least spoiled wilderness in Colorado. A lot less people here too. I will email you and let you know where the wolf sightings are taking place. I too, am hesitant to post it. It is going to be my mission to locate a wolf here this summer.

  12. Glenn Avatar

    I saw a grizzly up East Snowmass Creek (not West Snowmass Creek, which gets a lot of hikers) summer of 2007. No ifs, ands or buts. It was as close as 30 yards from me, and I watched (with some trepidation) for several minutes. It was blond colored, and had a hump and a distinct face unlike a black bear. And it was huge–4 feet tall at the shoulder.
    People who never get off the beaten path don’t appreciate how remote some of the Colorado Rockies are. There are plenty of places that go YEARS without a human footprint.
    BTW, the Div of Wildlife was dismissive when I reported it.


Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan