Guy Farmer: Bear season in Carson City

It’s Bear Season in Kings Canyon, where I live. I know because of the impressive amounts of bear poop I’m seeing on the walking trails in my neighborhood.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife has issued bear guidance for Nevadans who share living space with hungry bears who are looking for food in preparation for their winter hibernation. NDOW reminds us that “bears are very destructive when it comes to fruit trees” and advises homeowners to “pick all of the fruit from the tree and make sure to clean up fruit that has fallen to the ground.” Good advice.

“Putting up electric fending in a wide circle around your fruit trees can also help keep bears from tearing branches down and climbing tree trunks,” NDOW adds. “This is bear country and fruit trees attract bears.”

“If you witness a violation of our county’s garbage ordinance, you can take action,” according to Carson City Code Enforcement ( Reporting parties must take a picture of the compromised trash can — knocked over, bear currently feeding from it, etc. — with the residence in view, ideally with the address visible.”

Well, that’s kind of a tall order for us photographically-challenged residents. What I’d prefer to do is to photograph garbage cans out on the curb the night before scheduled trash pickups. This is what several of my neighbors do (they know who they are) and sure enough, their trash cans are overturned and their garbage litters the street in the morning, thanks to our Kings Canyon bears.

Simple solution: Put your trash cans out the morning of the weekly trash pickup, not the night before. Please! “If you choose not to take action, you’ll have bears attracted to your property,” and to your garbage cans, NDOW warns.

Helpfully, one of the NDOW handouts tells the story of Gunnison, Colorado, wildlife manager Chris Parmeter, who had to shoot a marauding bear at 3:30 a.m. “The bear was big, black and now, lifeless,” Parmeter wrote in the Durango Herald. “I wish it hadn’t ended up this way — the bear’s agonized writhing in the driveway, the smoking shotgun, my hands shaking from the rush of adrenaline and emotion. .... This is part of my job as a district wildlife manager, a part that I despise.”

Parmeter met this particular bear three years earlier when he was trapped in a dumpster while raiding garbage cans with Mama Bear. “I lifted him out with a snare pole and let him go, but he couldn’t escape his fate,” Parmeter wrote. “The end of his story was already being written.”

Some well-intentioned, but clueless, Lake Tahoe homeowners who feed the bears should read this sad story. Nevertheless, they continue to feed the bears and wildlife managers like Parmeter are eventually forced to shoot marauding bears who become way too comfortable with humans. But the determined bear feeders never learn and the same sad story is repeated over and over again.

An overdue resignation

Deonne Contine, Gov. Sisolak’s former director of Administration, abruptly resigned earlier this month, citing a desire to spend more time with her family. What several news stories left out, however, was the fact that she became deeply enmeshed in the corrupt marijuana industry after serving as the executive director of the Nevada Tax Commission when it was issuing and denying “recreational” marijuana licenses in a chaotic licensing process. Contine, an attorney, resigned from the Tax Commission to join a statewide law firm’s high-powered “Cannabis Team” and became an officer of a company that operates pot shops in Reno and Carson City. And then Sisolak hired her. Can you say “conflict of interest?”

Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.


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