DOUGLAS COUNTY, NV - With the lack of rain this year, natural food sources for black bears are scarce, which means they will be drawn to people's garbage cans to feed their appetite. Two female bears, an 8-year old and a yearling, were caught near homes in Incline Village on Tuesday. The Nevada Department of Wildlife then released the bears about a mile south of Spooner Lake Summit. Game Biologist Carl Lackey says it is better to take the bears to a more rural setting than releasing them back into an urban area
"We like to release them as close to where we catch them as possible. In Incline Village that's not always possible because of the number of roads, cars, and people hiking on the trails," he says.
When releasing the bears, the goal is to make them more fearful of people and think twice before going near towns and neighborhoods again. That's not always an easy task. During Wednesday's release, the yearling took off from its trap almost instantly, but the older bear took almost 25 minutes before it fled up a tree.
"Our hope is that when we're done, these bears will become either totally nocturnal or just avoid these urban areas altogether," says Lackey.
The use of dogs is usually a big help when trying to keep bears in the wild. Lackey says without the dogs, they're usually back in urban areas within days or weeks. With the use of dogs they usually don't deal with them again for several months or years.
NDOW reports 95% of human-bear interactions are caused by trash. So the best thing to do is limit the amount of garbage around your home, bring your pet food indoors and pick any ripe fruit off of trees. NDOW also says that it has saved nearly 400 bears through releases since the late 90's.