Since mid-July, Nevada Department of Wildlife officials have captured three-four bears a week.
Today, a 100-pound male yearling black bear was caught in the backyard of a home on Leonard Road in the Gardnerville Ranchos.
He was sedated for several hours while wildlife biologist Carl Lackey tagged and took blood samples for DNA mapping.
“We’re looking at migration between here and Sierra Nevada,” Lackey said. “You can map the DNA to show how closely this bear is related to bears in Sierra Nevada.”
As Lackey pulled the bear out of the cage, it let out a groggy growl.
Although standard procedure is to release a bear where it was captured, the Gardnerville Ranchos was not a possibility.
Lackey will release the bear this evening.
“I’d like to put him close to the Ranchos, probably in the Carson Range. He’s a young male so he’s going to roam no matter where I put him,” Lackey said. “Hopefully with his experience in the Ranchos, getting a poke in the butt, and everything that went with it, he’ll move on.”
This is the second bear captured in the Ranchos this season.
“The river flows right down through there and bears and lions both will follow the river for the water source,” he said. “By staying along the river corridor it will bring bears to Minden. We’ve caught bears right on Tenth Street, and at the Wildhorse Bar & Grill. We caught them at Ironwood one year.”
According to Lackey, it’s not unusual for bears to come down into the Valley.
“When it’s dry, it forces bears down into backyards where they know they can find food. Everybody’s got fruit trees, and everybody’s got trash cans,” he added. “It’s not normal, but it happens more than people know.”
Due to the extremely dry conditions, Lackey warned residents to take extra precautions.
“Even if you think you’re not having bear problems take extra precautions with your trash,” he said. “People think they’re OK because they’re not seeing bears, so they get lax with their trash until it’s too late. The time to take precautions is before you have a bear.”
Lackey suggested waiting until the morning of pickup to put trash cans out, and storing them in your garage until then.
“It’s shaping up to be a pretty bad year,” he added.
To report a bear, call The Nevada Department of Wildlife at 688-BEAR (2327)