Next Nevada bear hunt may not include Lake Tahoe


By Jeff Delong, Reno Gazette-Journal

Nevada’s second bear-hunting season would be shorter and no hunting allowed within the Lake Tahoe Basin under new regulations proposed by Nevada wildlife officials.

The proposal will be considered early next month in Las Vegas as the Nevada Wildlife Commission reviews hunting season regulations proposed for black bears and all other big-game animals. Discussions come a month after the state ended its inaugural bear season amid widespread controversy that shows little sign of dissipating.

One significant change would prohibit bear hunting west of the Tahoe Rim Trail, effectively barring all hunting within the Tahoe Basin, said Chris Healy, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. The season’s opening would come be Sept. 15 rather than Aug. 20, a change Healy said was requested by hunters to avoid summer heat hard on both them and their dogs.

Prohibiting hunting in Tahoe came in response to both the hunt’s controversy there as well as enforcement difficulty associated with a checkerboard pattern of land where hunting was allowed in some places but prohibited in others, Healy said.

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Comments (9)
  1. Tahoeadvocate says - Posted: January 16, 2012

    Tell the critics to check out how many bears were killed during the most recent hunting season in New Jersey.

  2. T says - Posted: January 17, 2012

    To my mind the reason to have a bear hunting season is that there are too many bears coming in contact with humans. They are breaking into homes and causing damage-in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Instead of stopping hunting in the Tahoe Basin, that is where it should be occurring. The urban bears are the problem, not the ones way out in the wilderness. Think of how we are attempting to handle fire danger in Tahoe. They are thinning the woods closest to the neighborhoods, because you don’t want a fire in a house getting into the forest, and you don’t want a forest fire destroying a neighborhood. Where bears need to be thinned is near the neighborhoods.

  3. Careaboutthecommunity says - Posted: January 17, 2012

    T, that makes sense!

  4. John says - Posted: January 17, 2012

    The strange part to me is that there is a very active bear hunt on the California side of Tahoe, has been for years. Nobody has been shot and bears are taken every year. What is the problem?

  5. Tahoehuskies says - Posted: January 17, 2012

    Your all missing a very important point. The “problem” bears in the Tahoe Basin are generally found in the urban areas,which is off limits to hunting. The California bear hunt hasn’t taken a bear in the Basin in years. Would you want hunters roaming our neighborhoods with loaded weapons just so they can bag a “problem” bear?

    The Nevada hunt didn’t produce one bear that was identified as being a nuance or “problem”. Maybe that’s because those bears stay close to where the food source is.

    The real “problem” is the people who can’t make the necessary changes to deter bears from seeing people as a source of food. I am not against hunting, I just feel that using hunting as a solution to a human “problem” is not going to solve anything.

  6. John says - Posted: January 17, 2012

    Tahoehuskies, you are missing the point actually. There is no room for problem bears to move out of urban areas. So you run a bear out of a neighborhood, where is it supposed to go? I could have killed 20 bears this year while I was deer hunting. Every drainage already has bears, multiple bears. So pressure is forcing the problem bears down, there is no up, all of the higher elevation drainages already have bears.

  7. Tahoehuskies says - Posted: January 17, 2012

    Well, technically the “problem” bears in Tahoe would have a hierarchy establishment were the more dominant animals would reign over the best territory in the Basin, and by territory I am referring to the best sources of food. A dominant bear is a dominant bear and can take any territory it presumes to want.

    So, under your above conclusions if “we” drove the dominant bears out of the urban areas they would have to compete with the bears already occupying the W.U.I. So, more bears would be displaced. Food has always been a limiting population factor for wildlife and that includes bears. If Tahoe bears could all go back to foraging on natural (and native) food sources then the population wouldn’t be as high as it currently is. Tahoe presumably has one of the largest black bear populations in Northern California.

    Now, say those dominant “problem” bears are removed via legal hunt, wildlife officials, or depredation permits. If the original problem of human food storage (and trash) is not fixed then bears from the W.U.I. will move on in to take over the food source. It’s a continuing circle facilitating bears to become “problems”.

    So, once again what good is hunting as a means to control problem bears?

    Now to a more important issue at hand: were you deer hunting in Tahoe (what state) and did you bag one? How many points if it was a buck? The Tahoe Basin is not known for plentiful deer. Yes, I am aware of the Pole Creek deer fawning site, which means deer are in the Lower Truckee River cannon.

  8. John says - Posted: January 17, 2012

    Tahoehuskies, you presume that all problem bears are dominant. You also presume that bears will feed on garbage and put up with people when they dont have to. I had an X-8 tag and there are plenty of deer in the higher elevation drainages. Just not around people. Thats the point. Look I had a bear I was thinking about killing near Mt. Tallac that is a garbage bear with tags. Even safely and legally hunting problem bears is pretty easy. But the point is, if bears are hunted then it will open up room for them in the wildland. Now I may be full of BS about this, but I dont think bears want to eat garbage. They want to be safely away from people. But there is no room anymore. And that goes for drainage after drainage in Tahoe and in the surrounding mountains.

    No I didn’t get a buck, I passed up a bunch and then never saw another after the mid-October storm. It sure was strange deer hunting in Tahoe though. Obviousely I dont hunt where people are, but coming out I would cross the Rim Trail, I would run across so nobody would see me. I didn’t want to have the conversation or freak out people.

  9. scott willson says - Posted: January 18, 2012

    I have always respected the forethought utilized by the Nevada Dept of Wildlife but the agency, as it appears by the direction of Carl Lackey is way off course in regards to the bear hunt. Having lived and worked in Tahoe, along with instructing bear aversion tactics, I can tell you the issue of the concentration of bears is actually within the basin itself. The hunters who obtained tags for the first season hunted outside of the basin due to the outcry of some people with allegations of fear of hunters. If a person’s mindset tells them to be afraid of the hunters out in the woods, then that same individual should be afraid every time they go out into public for there are more ILLEGAL weapons in vehicles and on people. Never has the Department of Wildlife instituted a hunt based on numbers and then denied access to hunt areas where the greatest concentration of game is located. Not to mention that the quota of the take was based on TOTAL numbers, not on the numbers of bears populating the allowed hunt areas. Hunters were pressured this last year to hunt the more remote, less bear populated areas. Not one problem or tagged bear was taken since the hunt was in the more remote areas. So how is this hunt reducing the high populated area of bears which includes and creates problem bears. When a concentration of bears are in a particular area (the Basin) and the food source is highly competitive, then the garbage or problem bear chances increase. It makes no sense to hunt a bear miles away, not reduce the higher concentration bear area and then still call it a successful hunt by the Department of Wildlife. What people have to realize is hunters have been hunting deer, birds, and lions within the area of the Basin/Rim Trail for years which suddenly now is to be a no hunt zone for the bear or will other species follow?

    Carl Lackey’s statement regarding a possible closure due to the fragmentation of the area for enforcement is absurd. How is this area suddenly fragmented for bear hunting enforcement but it never was for deer hunting season year after year? If it is closed to bear hunting and a hunter was reported in the area I would suspect that enforcement would suddenly be swift.