It’s not an unusual year for bears |

It’s not an unusual year for bears

Linda Hiller

Is it truth or an urban legend? Rumors of nuisance bears from the Lake being released in the Pinenut Mountains are just rumors, according to San Stiver, biologist with the Nevada Division of Wildlife.

“We don’t release bears in the Pinenuts,” he said. “But we do consider the Pinenut bear population one of expansion, so that might account for the reports of more sightings there.”

Stiver said campers and hikers should still be cautious while out in the back woods.

“Make lots of noise and don’t feed any wild animals,” he said. “Bears are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, so keep that in mind when you’re out there. Right now many of the females have cubs, and that certainly makes them more protective.”

In spite of the recent incident involving three girls who were trapped inside a beach cabana at Glenbrook at the Lake as a bear prowled around outside the enclosure, this year is not necessarily shaping up as a big bear year.

“We haven’t had any more calls than normal so far,” he said.

Stiver said that when a bear is relocated, the harassment of simply being captured and transported is usually enough of a deterrent to keep the bears from returning to locales where humans live.

“For the most part, relocated bears don’t show up again,” he said.

He did tell of one “nuisance” bear that was trapped at South Lake Tahoe and transported to the Mt. Rose area.

“That bear showed up at Incline and we had to trap it and move it to Sweetwater. Then it showed up in Lee Vining in the front seat of some guy’s pickup and he had to shoot it,” Stiver said. Not the best outcome, he added.

The black bear is the only bear species found in Nevada. There are three color phases of this species, and the cinnamon phase is more common the black phase.

Black bears are generally not aggressive, Stiver said.

“Maybe 50 out of 100,000 grizzlies will require intervention, but with black bears, it’s more like five out of 100,000.

“This doesn’t mean bears are cute and cuddly, though,” he added.

“The interesting thing about black bears is that when they do go after humans, it is usually predatory and they’re thinking about eating you,” he said. “Grizzleys and brown bears usually attack defensively.”

If you have any questions or problems with bears, Stiver recommends calling sheriff’s department, 782-9935 or public safety office.

The Nevada Division of Wildlife can be reached at 688-1500.