Bears Come Out of Hibernation Early - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Bears Come Out of Hibernation Early

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Paul Nelson
Channel 2 News

Bears are showing up around the Lake Tahoe Basin, and as usual, they're hungry. But the lack of snow could mean there will be less natural food for the bears to eat, possibly meaning more run-ins with humans and making it a busy year for wildlife officials.

"Those crops aren't going to be there," wildlife biologist Carl Lackey said. "And I imagine a lot of bears are going to be down to these urban areas, into people's backyards, looking for those sources of food. Apple trees, fruit trees, and berries."

Lackey says bears hibernate when the weather makes it hard to find food, but that's a little different, this year.

"If there is food available, whether it be human sources of food or green grass and wildflowers, they'll stay active," Lackey said.

He says some bears will stay active all winter, but it's typically the garbage bears. Those are the ones officials say pose a threat to people, like one female bear up in Incline Village this past weekend.

"They had a black bear," Nevada Department of Wildlife Spokesman Chris Healy said. It seemed to be the same one rip some siding off a house, broke into a couple of cars. Most likely, in search of food."

That bear has two yearling cubs and officials say that makes the mother even more of a threat. So, the Nevada Department of Wildlife set a trap for the bear. But it was tampered with.

"The citizens who we're trying to protect, some of them are really in a wrong-headed way, are interfering with that," Healy said. "So, we're hoping some common sense will prevail and they can allow us to do our job."

Trap damage could also result in a felony for destruction of state property. Regardless, it's that time when bears are emerging, even if they are ahead of schedule.

"Whether you're recreating and hiking up in the Tahoe Basin or whether you're living in those areas, expect bear problems, earlier than normal," Lackey said.

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