Bear killed at home south of Tahoe |

Bear killed at home south of Tahoe

Elaine Goodman
Nevada Appeal News Service

A sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a bear that entered an occupied home south of Lake Tahoe early Monday, in an incident similar to one earlier this month on the North Shore.

The killings of the two bears exemplify a summer that one official called the worst on record for bear-related incidents in the Lake Tahoe area.

And the situation has drawn attention from media near and far, including a Los Angeles radio station and the “Inside Edition” television show.

On Monday at about 3:30 a.m., a Christmas Valley man called authorities about a bear that had entered his home through a rear sliding door and was in his kitchen. The man had barricaded himself in a bedroom with his dog.

“The first deputy to arrive entered the residence through the front door and used proven tactics of stomping his feet and yelling in an effort to encourage the bear to leave through the open sliding door,” El Dorado County Sheriff’s Lt. Les Lovell said in a press release.

“Instead of leaving, the bear charged the deputy.”

The deputy fired twice at the bear, which headed toward the sliding door but then turned and charged the deputy again, according to Lovell. The deputy shot at the bear once more and the bear left the home.

The bear, described as a 300-pound female and “mortally wounded,” was found in the back yard and euthanized.

“It’s been about 15 years since we’ve had to shoot a bear,” Lovell said.

Possibly explaining the bear’s aggressive behavior is the fact that two cubs were found near the home. The cubs are being evaluated by the Fish & Game Department to see how they react to people. If it’s determined they’re not a threat, they’ll likely be taken to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care until they can be released in the wild.

Lovell declined to release the name of the resident, citing fears of possible retribution. He also did not identify the deputy.

On Aug. 2, Nevada Department of Wildlife officials and Washoe County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a bear after it reportedly threatened a family and a Washoe County sergeant at a North Shore home.

The bear had entered a home and the family locked themselves in a master bedroom until authorities arrived. The bear charged at a sergeant who arrived on scene and was shot.

The North Shore incident drew criticism from Ann Bryant, executive director of the BEAR League, a group that promotes peaceful coexistence of bears and people. Bryant said in that case that the deputy had blocked the bear’s escape route.

But Bryant was supportive of the deputy’s actions in the Christmas Valley incident. The deputy was not aware the bear had cubs nearby, Bryant said, and therefore had no ready explanation for the bear’s aggressive behavior.

“He could not understand why she was behaving that way,” Bryant said. “It was a tragic accident.”

Officials have attributed an increase in bear problems this summer to dwindling food and water in the wild due to drought and habitat destruction from the Angora fire.

Lovell said his office has responded to more than 200 bear-related calls since the fire, which started June 24, and more than 50 bear threats. An incident is considered a threat if a bear stands its ground when confronted by a human rather than running.