Wayward bear sent back home

A bear that made himself at home in a Carson City living room early Saturday morning is back in his rightful place - the mountains west of Carson City - and wildlife officials say they're hoping he's had his fill of suburban living.

The movements of the 280-pound black bear had been tracked for years by state wildlife officials as part of an extensive research project into the habits of bears that live near urban areas. This particular bear's habits gave wildlife officials little reason for concern.

"We do not consider him a garbage bear," said Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy.

The male bear, at 9 to 11 years old, is about five years older than a NDOW official had guessed when the ursine was captured after a two-hour, yard-to-yard chase.

The bear was first spotted by a Carson City resident at 4:19 a.m. - inside the resident's living room.

He ran out immediately after seeing a human and wasn't seen again until about 9:10 a.m. when, a few blocks away, sheriff's deputies and an NDOW warden gave chase.

Shortly before 11:30 a.m. Saturday, the bear finally laid down in the shade of a pine tree in the neighborhood of Fairview Drive and Hawaii Circle, just east of South Carson Street, to sleep off two tranquilizer darts.

The first time the bear was captured was in 1999, when he was fitted with a collar and tattooed inside his mouth. Since then, he's been very active, traveling back and forth between Mount Rose and the Pine Nut Mountains - a nearly three-dozen-mile trek one way. But he's never before had a run-in with humans, and apparently was never even detected.

"This time he was noticed, though," Healy said. "Hopefully, he'll stick to his wild ways and stay away from humans."

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at cmcconnell@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.


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