Busy bear weekend in Carson City, western Nevada
As the Columbus Day weekend began in western Nevada, high-profile black bear activity in west Reno grabbed most of the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s attention. While west Reno is still experiencing bear sightings, the west side of Carson City, Yerington and the outskirts of Gardnerville have all joined the “fun” with bear activity of their own.
West Reno has two bear traps set in the Caughlin Ranch/Mayberry/Juniper area. Some residents on the west side of Carson City have called both on Saturday and Sunday mornings with reports of a black bear visiting backyards in the urban interface neighborhood which borders the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada. In Gardnerville, a bear up a tree in a rural area near town was harassed by Karelian bear dogs and chased back into more traditional bear habitat.
In Yerington, a bear was trapped on Saturday and was to be released into the Pine Grove Mountains southeast of Yerington. The bear, a six year old female had never been handled before by NDOW. “She will be fitted with an ear tag and more importantly, a satellite collar and she will become part of our long-term research project studying the population of black bears in Nevada,” says biologist Carl Lackey. “Every bear that we can add to the research project adds to our already expansive data base on Nevada’s black bear population.”
The satellite collars automatically send a GPS (Global Positioning System) signal periodically to researchers who can follow the movements of the bears fitted with such collars. “These movements tell us what habitats the bears utilize, where the females give birth to their cubs and a myriad of other details on the bear’s lives that we could only wish to know just a few years ago,” says Lackey.
Bear activity in western Nevada is expected to be “busy and active” for at least the next month. Bears are still in the physiological state of hyperphagia where their in-take of food can increase from 3,000 calories a day to as many as 25,000 calories per day. “Their one and only job is eating this time of year and they are very good at it,” says Lackey. Sierra Nevada black bears usually go into hibernation in between Thanksgiving and Christmas as food sources become harder to find.
Persons needing to report nuisance bear activity can call the NDOW’s Bear Hotline telephone number at (775) 688-BEAR (2327). For information on living with bears persons can go to www.ndow.org and find the ”Bear Logic” page on the web.