Nevada Gets The Go Ahead for Bear Season

Nevada Dept. of Wildlife, Bear Hunting Magazine

Despite opposition from wildlife advocates, a state panel this last Saturday unanimously voted to establish Nevada's first bear hunting season.

Before their 8-0 vote, state wildlife commissioners said the state's black bear population can support a hunt and hunting might reduce human-bear conflicts in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area by giving the bruins a fear of people.

"I'm doing this for the bears," said the panels Vice Chairman. "It is better to have them hunted than killed by cars. Gunshots scare bears. Maybe a hunt will take care of some of our problems."

Nevada is home to an estimated 200 to 300 bears along the eastern Sierra, mostly in the Carson Range around Lake Tahoe, according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife. An unknown number of bears inhabit the Wassuk and Sweetwater ranges to the south.

A limited hunt can be supported because the state's bear population is increasing by about 16 percent a year, said a biologist for NDOW. Initial proposals called for seasonal hunting of about 20 bears.

Commissioners are scheduled to work out details about seasons and quotas next year. Some commissioners did state that they are opposed to a spring hunt because of concerns raised by advocates that the killing of mother bears would leave cubs as orphans.

Supporters of the hunt noted that Nevada is the only Western state that prohibits bear hunting, and hunting could raise needed revenue.

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