A bill that originally banned bear hunting, now calls for a three-year scientific study of bear hunting be conducted by the Nevada Department of Wildlife .
Senate Bill 82, by Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, originally declared black bears a protected animal and prohibited the Wildlife Commission from designating a hunting season for them.
Manendo took the senate floor Monday to offer an amendment that he said would delete the bill as a whole. In its place, language would be installed acknowledging the perspectives expressed by both opponents and supporters — from tribal leaders, who say they traditionally revere and protect the bear, to hunters, who want the bear as a trophy species.
He said the new language directs Wildlife to conduct a three-year scientific study of the issue, including whether the bear population will be sustainable if a hunting season is allowed.
The amendment was approved on a voice vote, sending the revamped SB82 to the Senate for a final vote this week.
The issue was raised after wildlife commissioners approved a bear hunting season in 2011 and 2012. A total of 1,156 applications for bear tags were received the first year, 1,762 the second. Just 45 tags were issued each year.
According to the policy stated in the amended bill, lawmakers commit to predicate any bear hunting on “sound scientific data that ensures a health, productive and viable black gear population and reduces the number of conflicts between bears and humans.”
It directs that the results of the three years study be submitted to the Assembly and Senate Natural Resources committees for review and potential action.