Bear likely displaced by wildfire |

Bear likely displaced by wildfire

Rhonda costa-landers

A 220-pound black bear tranquilized and captured in an Indian Hills neighborhood Wednesday evening was likely displaced by the Waterfall fire, said Carl Lackey, wildlife biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

“This bear has a very interesting history,” Lackey said.

“This bear was captured at an apartment complex in Reno over the Memorial Day weekend. It was released near Hobart Reservoir in the Carson Range.”

Lackey said he just happened to be in the Carson Range area of Marlette Lake three days before the fire and saw the bear “doing exactly what he should be doing.”

“He was foraging around, eating grass, just like he should. He was happy as all get out.”

After moving south, the bear was spotted by resident Renee Heinichen in Indian Hills, the area just south of Carson City.

“She told me there was a bear at our front gate,” said her husband, Doug Busey, who lives on Harris Road. “I looked out and it was just playing on the side of the house. Then it went to the neighbor’s house and I was thinking there’s kids in the area, so I called 911.”

“I have no doubt this bear may have gone through some garbage while in town, but it did not cause any problems, per se,” said Lackey. “And we don’t euthanize them, unless their behavior is aggressive and they are breaking into homes or cars.”

Though there are only five homes in the immediate area, the bear caused enough commotion for neighbors to ask each other, “Did you see it?”

Douglas County sheriff’s dispatchers called the Department of Wildlife and the bear was captured off Plymouth Drive, after it shimmied up a tree in a yard adjacent to Sandra and Dwayne Bachstein’s home.

“I was surprised to see it, very much so,” said Sandra Bachstein. “I’ve only before seen a bear in a cage.

“I’ve lived here more than 20 years and we just don’t get bears. But I’ll let you know it was nice and soft. I named it ‘Snuggles,’ because it was golden brown and soft.”

Lackey said the bear was released back into the closest habitat – the Carson Range off Spooner Summit Thursday morning, according to policy.

“We don’t track them, just tag them and release,” Lackey said.

Lackey also said he has recently received a few calls from the west side of Washoe Valley about bear sightings. He said it may be fire related also.

Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.