Nevada Working On Adding Bear Season

Nevada Dept. of Wildlife, Bear Hunting Magazine

Despite opposition, the first black bear hunting season in Nevada history has moved a step closer. Nevada Department of Wildlife staff has been directed to draft a regulation establishing a spring and fall hunt by state wildlife commissioners. Commission Chairman Scott Raine says the panel plans to take final action on the regulation in December. Commissioners say Nevada is the only Western state without a bear hunt, and the state's bear population is stable enough to allow for a limited one.

Nevada wildlife commissioners are looking at plans to establish a bear hunting season for the first time in state history, saying Nevada’s bruin population now is stable enough to allow for one.

The Commissioners stated that Nevada is the only Western state without such a hunt and they think it could help reduce human-bear conflicts along the eastern Sierra, including the Reno-Lake Tahoe area.

The panel still must work out details such as when the hunting season would take place and how many black bears would be harvested annually, they said. Nevada is home to at least 200 to 300 bears along the eastern Sierra, with most inhabiting the Carson Range on Lake Tahoe’s east shore, said Carl Lackey, a biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

The state also has viable bear populations in the Wassuk and Sweetwater ranges farther to the south, Lackey said, but no estimate is available for their numbers.

Over the past 14 years, an annual average of 23 bears in Nevada have either been struck and killed by vehicles or euthanized as a result of conflicts with humans. The average annual number of bear complaints along the eastern Sierra has soared from 20 to 30 in the early 1990s to well over 300 in recent years, according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

The commission could take final action on the proposal as early as December after hearing from the public at a September 24-25, 2010 meeting in Las Vegas.

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