Department of Wildlife kills more bears than hunters do, says critic
Nevada’s black bears are under attack by state regulators, according to some Lake Tahoe residents who allege they are also being targeted for trying to prevent what they contend is the needless slaughter of the animals.
“There’s a long history of the Nevada Department of Wildlife working with law enforcement to shut us up,” says Dr. Staci Baker, a Douglas County resident and veterinarian. “It’s going to get violent at some point. Neighbors are fighting. Neighborhoods are fighting.”
“It is NDOW’s practice, in my opinion, to intimidate and bully their detractors into silence,” says Carolyn Stark, an animal advocate who was sued by the Division’s biologist over comments posted by others on a Facebook page she manages. Stark prevailed on appeal.
Another activist sued NDOW for calling him a ‘terrorist.’ The case is close to going to trial.
Others, including Native American tribe members, say they’ve been questioned and investigated since attending a 2012 Wildlife Commission meeting to oppose the bear hunt.
In 2011, the state’s black bears became fair game for hunters.
“The Wildlife Commission approved a sport hunt. The purpose is to provide hunters with opportunity. It’s not a management tool,” says Kathryn Bricker of No Bear Hunt NV. “It’s not to reduce conflict between humans and bears. It exists simply for the purpose of allowing the hunters to kill a bear.”
Between September 2011 and the present, hunters “harvested” 101 bears. NDOW killed at least 59 more bears in the name of wildlife management during the same period, according to data provided by Nevada Department of Wildlife Assistant Director Jack Robb. Hundreds more were trapped and relocated.
“Since the hunt began, the number one cause of mortality is the NDOW’s policies for conflict bears,” says Bricker.
There has never been a fatal bear attack of a human in Nevada or California, according to Robb, who says the division takes measures to keep it that way.