Urban bear visits Carson again | NevadaAppeal.com

Urban bear visits Carson again

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/NEVADA APPEAL A 400-pound male black bear looks into Shirley Wallace's back yard on Colorado Street after it climbed one of her pine trees on Tuesday morning. The same bear was found in a tree on the Capitol grounds last month.

A 400-pound male bear led Nevada Department of Wildlife officials on a chase Tuesday morning before it scaled 45 feet up a pine tree in the back yard of a Colorado Street residence and nestled in for the long haul.

Or at least the rest of the day.

In the evening, the bear remained at the top of the tree, one of several in Shirley Wallace’s back yard. And Carl Lackey, biologist for the Department of Wildlife, sat west of Wallace’s residence in his truck, waiting for dusk, and hoping bystanders would go away.

“I’m going to wait here until it gets to dark to see,” he said. “If (the bear) comes down now, I’ll try and dart him.”

Shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday, officials reported the bear had left the area.

Bear 105 is one of the department’s research bears and has a tracking collar around its neck. The bear is the same one that was caught at the Capitol in early October.

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Lackey said when it was spotted, the bear was looking for something to eat – evidenced by its munching that morning on apples from a tree in someone’s back yard.

“(This bear) goes through Carson a lot,” Lackey said. “I think it’s amazing how often he goes through and people don’t know it. Usually, he doesn’t get caught.”

Back at her home, Wallace preferred to stay inside rather than venture out back where the bear hid. Every so often, the bear would shift in the tree, and move several branches with it. Wallace had taken her boxer inside, but he kept barking. She said she understood why the bear came to her yard.

“I’ve got six pine trees surrounding the property,” she said. “I’m not too surprised at all it chose this place.”

Her grandson, Lorenzo Wallace, 19, lives at the home and said he was surprised by the morning’s commotion.

“I’ve heard about bears being in Carson, but I’d never think it would be in my back yard,” he said.

The adventure began about 8:30 a.m. with Carson City Sheriff’s deputies responding to a call about a bear in the back of a residence on Kansas Street. The bear went up a tree, and a deputy shot fireworks nearby to chase it down. The bear ran off, surprising many residents in the Arizona Circle and Meadowbrook Drive areas as it bounded over fences. Division of Wildlife officials set up their tracker to follow its route.

It was about that time that the bear passed in front of SBC employees Mark Kratz and Larry Woodington, who were on morning assignment in the area.

“We were getting ready to leave and all you could see was a flash going over (a fence),” Kratz said. “(It) moved very fast. (It) was a real pretty bear.”

“He jumped over the fence and looked at us,” Woodington said. “He ran right behind our truck.”

The men alerted several residents in the area. They said the bear almost knocked someone over in the Arizona cul-de-sac.

“We were standing there trying to warn the neighbors, ‘Hey, there’s a bear,'” Woodington said.

They got the attention of both Mariano Jacquez and Ken Hutchinson, who have homes on Meadowbrook Drive. Jacquez and Hutchinson said the bear ran through their yards before scrambling up the street into another back yard.

“It was very scary for a minute,” Jacquez said.

They watched, as did other residents, as deputies and wildlife officials swarmed from a roof into a Meadowbrook back yard. It was then that Bear 105 was sighted at the top of Wallace’s pine.

Lackey said the black bear’s refuge at the top of the tree was normal behavior. He correctly predicted the bear would probably come down after dark.

“He’ll disappear,” Lackey said. “I’m not sure where he’ll go. I think it’ll be a fair bet he won’t hang around these yards.”

The Department of Wildlife has been tracking bears since 1997. Bear 105, which is about 5 years old, has been caught previously in Gardnerville, Washoe Valley and the Capitol grounds.

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.