Bear Sightings Reach a Peak in West Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Bear Sightings Reach a Peak in West Reno

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Craig Sande grew up in the house he lives in, in Juniper Hills. But lately, he feels like he lives in a zoo. After spying some unusual droppings, he brought out his special outdoor video camera. As he showed us, "I just took this Bushnell camera, and I just put it up against this tree." Which is how he caught video of a bobcat: "There he is, he's licking his chops, and off he goes..."

And then, just last week, the camera caught his neighbor's bee hive being raided by a big hungry black bear. Narrating the video for us, Sande said, "The bear came back about 2:30 in the morning and started tipping over the beehive, and started breaking it open."

They repaired the hive and surrounded it with fencing. The next night the bear came out and tried to get in, but later gave up. But it hasn't been on stranger on Craig's street. As he showed us on video, "You can see how big he is. He's a pretty beefy bruin. Until I put up this camera, I didn't know this was happening almost every night…about 2:30 in the morning he was coming in."

At the Nevada Department of Wildlife, Chris Healy has been hearing stories, and seeing videos like that a lot lately. This is the time of year they'll get dozens of calls a day. They cover the gamut from bears in dumpsters to backyards.

Encounters with bears have reached a surprisingly high number in neighborhoods like where Craig caught his video. Healy says neighborhoods like Juniper Hills, "used to be the bears natural habitat until it was developed. Those places used to be traditional wild lands, and over the years they've been developed. People have grown fruit trees in their yards, and the bears love the fruit."

He says they're seeing bears they never have before. The bear in Craig's video? "This one didn't have an ear tag, so that means it's a wild bear! And that tells us the wild sources of food may be drying up and may be going away."

After 2 years of drought, he says new bears are moving down here, not just for loose garbage, but for the bounty growing in yards, "So they're actually coming into places like west Reno where fruit trees have dropped a lot of fruit on the ground."

Anything they can find to fatten up for hibernation. He says bears like the one spotted will be out in town, all the way to mid-November, and looking for more than loose garbage. Craig's is secured, but he knows, "They love the fruit, and then of course the beehives. They love honey."

-written by John Potter

NDOW has a Bear Hotline to report nuisance bear activity. It's (775) 688-BEAR (688-2327). For information on living with bears, you can click below:

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