RENO (AP) - Now that Nevada's inaugural black bear hunt is over, state wildlife officials are proposing a shorter hunting season this year and excluding the Tahoe Basin from hunting.
New regulations for the 2012 hunting season will be considered early next month in Las Vegas when the Nevada Wildlife Commission reviews hunting season regulations for bears and all big-game animals.
One big change would prohibit bear hunting west of the Tahoe Rim Trail, effectively barring all hunting within the Tahoe Basin, said Chris Healy, Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman.
"I think this is kind of in response to those folks that didn't want any hunt in the Tahoe Basin," Healy said. "What we're proposing is to alleviate some of that tension, and the hunters weren't really using the Tahoe Basin anyway."
None of the 14 bears taken by hunters last year were killed in the Tahoe Basin.
Officials are also proposing a shorter season to begin Sept. 15. Hunters requested that change to avoid summer heat, which is hard on both them and their dogs, Healy said.
Last year, the season opened Aug. 20 and ended Dec. 31, though it would have closed earlier if a total of 20 bears, or six females, were killed before then.
Critics of the bear hunt called the changes positive but said they remain opposed to any bear hunting in Nevada.
"I think anything that scales back the hunt in any manner is an improvement," Kathryn Bricker, executive director of NoBearHuntNV.org, told the newspaper. "We are still opposed to the hunt statewide. We just feel bears should not be hunted, period."
Bricker's group questions the opinion of state biologists that Nevada's bear population is large enough to support a limited hunt. The state lacks sufficient data concerning bears in places like the Pine Nut Mountains, Sweetwater Range and Pine Grove Hills in Douglas and Lyon counties, where the bulk of the 14 bears killed during the 2011 season were taken, she said.
Wildlife commissioners will not set hunting quotas for the 2012 season during meeting Feb. 3-4. Limits on quotas will be made in May.