Bears waking up from winter’s nap |

Bears waking up from winter’s nap

A sign of impending bear season in Genoa.
Kurt Hildebrand

More snow in the mountains could send awakening bears into lower elevations earlier than usual.

There haven’t been any calls to the Nevada Department of Wildlife complaining about bears, yet, but they may be making an appearance soon.

“We collar bears, and a lot of those are still in their dens,” Information Officer Ashley Sanchez said on Monday. “But it’s not surprising to see bears out. It’s that time of year.”

She said snowy conditions in the mountains will have bears that do wake from hibernation seeking warmer altitudes to feed off grass.

“We’re asking people to secure their trash, bring in birdseed and pet food,” she said. “Bears have an incredibly strong sense of smell and if something smells good to them they will find a way to get to it.”

She suggested electric fencing for residents who keep bees or gardens.

“It gives them enough of a shock to frighten them off,” she said.

The state estimates there are 600-700 black bears living in Western Nevada.

“We recommend that those who feed birds take their bird feeders down from dusk until dawn or throw seed out on the ground over a broad area,” she said. “This is easy for the birds, hard for the bears.”

Feeders should be placed a distance from homes, so bears don’t get used to being near a house.

For information on ways to deter bears, visit

Douglas County was one of the first in Western Nevada to implement an ordinance requiring residents to use bear proof trash cans if they’re subject to repeated raids.