Few bear problems in Incline
INCLINE VILLAGE – Despite the recent incident of a beachcombing bear at Sand Harbor and a report of another bear up near the Ponderosa Ranch property, Tahoe’s North Shore has been free of bear problems this spring, parks and law enforcement officials said.
The Incline Village area has been relatively quiet for this time of year as far as bear traffic goes, said Washoe County Sheriff’s Sgt. Pam Keller.
“Most all the calls are referred to the department of wildlife,” Keller said. “But we do get calls and so far, we’ve received none for the month of June, as opposed to two at this same time last year.”
Washoe County Sheriff’s Department Incline Village Substation Cmdr. Gregg Lubbe said last year at this time the Incline Village/Crystal Bay area was suffering the same influx of bears that is now occurring on the South Shore.
“I remember that we were kept pretty busy with calls at that time of year,” Lubbe said. “There were a lot of calls about bears just walking down the street, but there were also several incidents where bears up to some mischief.”
Lubbe said he thought residents and visitors are more mindful this year about keeping their trash locked down.
“I think the bears came out a little earlier this year, but the community was better prepared than they have been in the past,” Lubbe said.
Waste Management district manager Henry Gastelum said residents in the Incline Village/Crystal Bay area are taking advantage of its programs to help prevent bear invasion.
“We’ve been furnishing our commercial accounts with bear-proof containers and I think the residents are being more diligent,” Gastelum said. “And I think it’s a combination of all of us doing our part that has lessened the problem.”
The same cannot be said for the basin as a whole.
In South Shore’s Kingsbury Grade and Zephyr Cove areas, there have been several reports of pesky bears breaking into homes and on one occasion, an occupied SUV.
On Tuesday, Department of Wildlife Biologist Carl Lackey was forced to euthanize a female bear that had raided a home and was suspected of several other break-ins.
“I captured and released that same bear on four separate occasions and she was getting too bold,” Lackey said. “On Tuesday, she was surrounded by deputies, but refused to leave.”
Lackey said he has received calls from people who were concerned that he was too rash in killing the bear.
“I don’t enjoy killing a bear, not at all,” Lackey said. “But it was plain this bear had learned this behavior from her mother and no one was going to change that.
“Because of that, she was not going to benefit the bear population in the area and was becoming a threat to people and that’s not good.”
Lackey said bear gender and territorial instincts may also contribute to the disappearance of bears on the North Shore and emergence on the South Shore.
“Most of the bears on the South Shore are females with delinquent cubs who’ve learned from their mothers how and where to get an easy meal,” Lackey said. “In Incline, there are mostly all males and they are very territorial, which keeps the females and younger males away, so there aren’t as many bears or bear incidents.”
Lackey is hoping that the South Shore will experience the same reduction in bear incidents that has been happening here, but it will take some work.
“As we’ve said before, it’s not the bears but the people who cause the problem,” Lackey said. “And until people change their ways, there are going to be incidents like Tuesday and that’s unfortunate.”