Department of Wildlife’s bear trapping encourages awareness/education | NevadaAppeal.com

Department of Wildlife’s bear trapping encourages awareness/education

Sarah Hauck
shauck@recordcourier.com
Human-Bear Conflict Specialist Heather Reich tattoos the gum Friday of a 140 lb. male black bear captured in the Galena area of Reno.
Brad Coman |

Placing an ear tag and giving a lip tattoo, new Nevada Department of Wildlife member Heather Reich processed a bear Friday for release.

The two-year-old, 140 pound male bear was captured off of Joy Lake Road in the Galena States area last Thursday.

It was the 29th bear to be captured this season.

“We were getting reports that a bear was in the area,” Reich, with more than 10 years of experience with bears said. “People had seen a bear a few times during the day and there were also reports that a bear was getting up on decks.”

The young bear had no pit or ear tag, indicating to Reich he had never been trapped before.

While the recent rains have been beneficial, it has not brought the area out of the drought, causing Reich to be concerned about educating people as bears search for food.

“We are really going to make an effort of making sure people are bear aware. I have already had to talk to a lot of people about bird feeders,” she said. “Garbage is also such a problem. Both Washoe and Douglas county have codes that garbage has to be secured in bear proof containers or put away where bears can’t get into, but some people just don’t take that precaution.”

Working with NDOW for a little more than a month Reich is learning the difference between the grizzly bears she’s used to working with in Montana and the black bears of Nevada.

Montana’s open space eliminated leniency for bear sightings during the day Douglas County has.

“It’s been a big learning experience here,” Reich said. “I am going to have to deal with people seeing bears during the day here. That was an immediate problem up there. Here I am just trying to help people learn that bears belong and that we have to live with them and live smarter.”

The trapping of this bear is the ninth conflict bear encounter of the year.

With this trap, NDOW is on track with last year’s number of captures, which was the second busiest trapping year on record according to game area biologist Carl Lackey.

“If we can modify bear’s behavior early with setting traps and doing on-site releases that’s what we want to do,” Lackey said. “We want to catch bears before they start doing major damage. This one was acting bold and coming out during the day making him a good candidate for behavior modification.”

Although the species of bear she works with has shifted, Reich still has a goal of educating people about living with bears and understanding bears are a part of the Valley.

Reich suggests not feeding pets on back porches, making sure garbage is secure either inside or in bear proof containers, and using electricity around anything that may attract bears like bee hives.

“Electricity is your friend,” she said. “It is a great bear deterrent. Also, I try to tell people when we get reports that anything another animal will eat, a bear will eat. They are omnivores so they will eat anything from seeds and nuts and berries to your dog’s food.”

The bear was released off of Kingsbury early Saturday morning.

To report a bear call 775-688-2327.