Bear batters Genoa porch | RecordCourier.com

Bear batters Genoa porch

Joyce Hollister

A Teddy-bear look-alike black bear acted like the wild animal that he is early Tuesday in Genoa.

The medium-brown colored bear, a regular visitor at the home of Joe Smaltz on Logging Camp Road behind the town, has a light-colored nose that makes him look like a children’s fuzzy toy.

It was at 2:30 a.m. that Smaltz was awakened by the noise of the bear breaking into his enclosed porch, trying to get at the family cat’s food. The bear tore off the window screen and broke flower pots. Smaltz’s dog Cheri barked frantically and the bear finally left.

Smaltz said he thinks people in Genoa need to be aware that the bears in the area are fattening up for fall and winter and are likely to be on the prowl for food.

“He’s really been bothering me about the last month,” Smaltz said. “Last month my trash was gone every night. I see him, and the dogs raise cain.”

Smaltz said that he had to throw rocks at the bear one evening to get him to move away.

“He goes from house to house,” Smaltz added. “He goes through the whole town.”

Carl Lackey, a wildlife biologist with the Nevada Division of Wildlife, said that people in Genoa are living in prime bear country.

“They’re living smack dab in the middle of bear habitat,” he said. “It’s their responsibility to be first on the front line of defense.”

He suspects that there are a handful of bears living in the foothills just behind the town. Lackey said residents should remove the “attractants,” food or garbage, that the bears go for.

“Once the attractants are removed,” he said, “we’ll see if the bear comes back. It’s not uncommon for bear sightings, especially at night. What concerns us is if the bear starts coming around repeatedly during the middle of the day or if there starts being a lot of damage.”

On Tuesday, Lackey set a trap at Smaltz’s house.

Lackey said the next step is aversion therapy, where the bear is trapped and then “educated” through aversion tactics such as shooting the bear with rubber bullets or darts. If that doesn’t work, euthanizing the bear could be next.

Bears don’t relocate well, Lackey added, because bear habitat is limited in Nevada. If a bear is moved into another bear’s area, trouble could result.

“First thing, people have to deal with it,” Lackey said. “It pretty much solves the problem when people remove the food source. If a bear becomes bold or aggressive, there are steps that we can take.”

Smaltz planned to lure the bear into the trap with jelly doughnuts or maybe a glazed doughnut or two. Once the bear is caught, NDOW biologists will begin aversion therapy.