Nevada's Bear Hunt Returns This Fall - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Nevada's Bear Hunt Returns This Fall

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John Potter

Channel 2 News

Carl Lackey's truck is his office. About 70% of his job as wildlife biologist for the Nevada Department of Wildlife is taken up by bears, a beautiful part of the old west that lately has become…difficult. Carl told us, "With the weather conditions we're having so far this year, I anticipate a bad bear year."

It wasn't always this way. The department's Chris Healy says things changed about 20 years ago. "We had that drought in the early 1990's that forced the wild bear population to actually come down and start utilizing garbage as a source of food."

After all the controversy last year over Nevada's first bear hunt, the back and forth on bears has taken another turn. New regulations proposed would shorten the bear hunt this year, and leave Tahoe out of it. But they're not being considered to save some bears. Rather, it's to protect more people. Healy said the second proposal "would keep hunters out of the Tahoe Basin for bear hunting." Why keep hunters out of the Tahoe Basin? "Well, we had people last year saying it would be a dangerous situation. Bears can be dangerous too, but the perception is the hunters are more dangerous."

The department is really just responding to what Tahoe homeowners want: keeping bears in and more hunters out. As for shortening the hunt, that wish to start a month later in September comes from the hunters, concerned about their hunting dogs. Healy says "These hounds that were out, utilized in hunting these bears, were becoming overheated."

Both changes are expected to pass next month. In the meantime, both men expect another backyard invasion of bears this year. Carl Lackey says that will be due to "a lack of natural foods. If we don't get some moisture, a lot of those shrubs and berry crops that the bears depend on late summer and fall aren't going to be there." Yes, yet another danger that comes down to a lack of moisture.

The season shortening and Tahoe Basin exclusion go before the Nevada Wildlife Commission in Las Vegas early next month. The meeting is scheduled for February 3rd. The bear hunt quota numbers will be set in May.

You can make your views known before their decision…the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners accepts emails, and has more contact information here:


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