Carson City bear is too popular for its own good
November 22, 2005
CARSON CITY – 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 capital city woman’s home and nestled in for the long-haul.
Or at least the rest of the day.
As of press time the bear remained at the top of the tree, one of several in Shirley Wallace’s yard.
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 too dark to see,” he said. “If (the bear) comes down now, I’ll try and dart him.”
Called Bear 105, it is one of the department’s research bears and has a tracking collar around its neck. 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.
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“(This bear) goes through Carson a lot,” said Lackey. “I think it’s amazing how often he goes through and people don’t know it. Usually, he doesn’t get caught.”
The bear is the same one that was caught at the Capitol in early October.
Back at her home, Wallace preferred to stay inside rather then 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 near it 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. “(He) moved very fast. (He) 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,” said Jacquez.
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. 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.