Two bears died recently at Lake Tahoe in Douglas County, one in Zephyr Cove, the Nevada Department of Wildlife reported. A female cub was hit and killed by a car, while a 2-year-old female was found dead in a small stream.
There was no sign of obvious trauma but residents in the area had reported a “lethargic, sickly looking bear” in the area in recent days, spokesman Chris Healy said.
“Bear activity is spiking as the Nevada Day holiday weekend approaches,” Healy said.
High-profile black bear activity in west Reno grabbed most of the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s attention last weekend with two bears caught in traps. One bear was caught in the area around West Plumb Lane and Ferris Lane. Another bear was caught in the Juniper Ridge area.
“These bears are hungry and west Reno offers a lot of temptation,” state black bear biologist Carl Lackey said. “Besides the always-present human garbage, there are still fruit trees which attract these very hungry bears.”
One of the females had been handled by NDOW before, last caught in 2007. That year was another poor year for wildland nuts and berries, similar to the conditions being experienced in the Sierra Nevada this year. NDOW still has two traps set in west Reno because of other bears that are still active in the area.
Both of the female bears caught in west Reno were released, after receiving aversion conditioning treatment (which consists of rubber buck shot fired at the bears and the use of Karelian bear dogs chasing and usually treeing the bears).
“We give the bears a bad experience in the hope that they do not come back,” added Lackey. “We’ve been successful using this technique.”
Early Tuesday morning, a 350-pound male black bear was caught in west Carson City. That bear, according to Lackey, had never been handled before and was expected to be released sometime Wednesday morning.
“We may have handled up to 10 bears in the last 10 days,” says Lackey, “but it’s too busy to give an exact figure. The time for paperwork will come later in the fall when bear activity slows down.” Citizens throughout western Nevada bear country are asked to do all they can to keep from attracting bears. That includes keeping garbage away from the bears and picking up fruit from trees in their yards.
Bear activity in Western Nevada is expected to stay active for at least the next few weeks. Bears are still in the physiological state of hyperphagia where their in-take of food can increase from 3,000 calories a day to as many as 25,000 calories per day.
“Their one and only job is eating this time of year and they are very good at it,” Lackey said.
Sierra Nevada black bears usually go into hibernation in between Thanksgiving and Christmas as food sources become harder to find.
Anyone needing to report nuisance bear activity can call the NDOW’s Bear Hotline telephone number at (775) 688-BEAR (2327). For information on living with bears persons can go to www.ndow.org and find the ”Bear Logic” page on the web.
A half-dozen bears have been killed so far in the Nevada bear hunt.
The last bear was a 500-pound male taken in the Pine Nut Mountains on Saturday. Prior to that a 5-year-old male was taken in the Sweetwaters on Oct. 12, a 300-pound male was taken Oct. 5 in the mountains around Smith Valley and on Oct. 4, a toothless 15-year-old male weighing 400-500 pounds was taken in the Pine Nuts. That’s in addition to two female bears taken near Genoa Peak.
The Nevada bear hunt ends on Dec. 31, or when the 20-bear limit has been reached.