Black bear captured in Dresslerville
The bear came over the mountain (through the woods, along the river and up a tree) to Dresslerville recently, to see what he could see, and what he saw must have been worthy of a giant, black bear dej vu, because this particular animalwas no stranger to the Nevada Division of Wildlife biologists who rescued him.
“This was the third time we’ve handled this male,” said Reid Varble, NDOW game warden. “We think it’s a cub from the Kingsbury sow that had to be put down last year. We tried everything we could to keep her away from people, but she kept coming back. She must have taught her cubs to feed around people.”
The 120 pound, 3-year-old male black bear was likely treed by dogs who spotted him in this north Gardnerville neighborhood, which generally doesn’t host the big furred mammals.
“We got a call at 8 a.m. on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, saying there was a bear on the Washoe Indian reservation off Dresslerville,” Varble said. “We went out, and there were a couple of tribal units at the site and people were looking up at the bear, which was about 20 feet up the tree. We tried to leave him alone, hoping he would come down by himself, but he didn’t, so we went ahead and tranquilized him.”
What goes up, if tranquilized, will come down. With Varble were Carl Lackey, NDOW biologist, and several Washoe Tribe police officers. When the bear began to fall asleep after being hit by the tranquilizer dart, descending from the tree in a perfect example of one of the most basic laws of physics – gravity – the rescuers endeavored to break his fall with a stretched out piece of carpet, Varble said.
The bear was then examined by Lackey and Varble, who gave him a good bill of health.
“He was in good shape and seemed very healthy,” Varble said. “Carl was looking at his teeth and they looked OK, and sometimes these bears can get to stinking pretty bad, but this one smelled fine. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
For the third time.
Repeat offender. The first time the bear was captured, Varble said, was in the Kingsbury area above Lake Tahoe. He was then relocated to the north.
The second time he was captured, it was after being discovered under a porch at Incline Village, Varble said. He was then relocated south of Minden and Gardnerville.
“This guy’s a wanderer, that’s for sure,” Varble said. “He must have followed the river all the way to Dresslerville.”
After this last capture, Varble said they gave the bear the standard “learn-to-fear-humans” treatment, hoping it would finally take, making him, at last, a wilderness-only bear. He was sprayed with pepper spray, shot with harmless rubber bullets and treated to a loud fireworks show (cracker shells) as he was released.
“He ran real hard out of that culvert trap cage,” Varble said. “He’s young enough that he may have a chance at learning to eat natural foods like berries and ants. Hopefully, that will be the last we’ve seen of this bear.”
This time, they re-located “the wanderer” in an undisclosed location.
“Way, way south,” Varble said.
Not many bear calls so far. Varble said this is the third encounter NDOW biologists and game wardens have had with bears so far this year.
“This year has been slow, which is good,” he said. “But people should be aware that the bears are out of hibernation now and they may have young cubs.”
The black bear is the only bear native to Nevada, and is not always black – in fact, more often it can be brown or cinnamon colored.
Varble said a Black Bear that was actually jet black would be relatively rare, but not unheard of around here.
Use good judgment.Varble said anyone in an area where bears have been sighted should be sure to have their trash in bear-proof dumpsters and to never entertain the thought of feeding the bears.
“They are wild animals and can be dangerous,” he said. “Make noise when you’re hiking, travel in groups and stay away from any bears you see in the wild.”
Varble said he really didn’t have any trepidations in photographing his two young daughters and their friends so close to the anesthetized Dresslerville bear.
“We had a lot of neighbor kids who hadn’t seen a bear close up before, and they really enjoyed it,” he said. “When you anesthetize a bear like that, it is out for about two hours. When they’re out, they’re out.”
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