Three strikes, and now an Incline bear is dead |

Three strikes, and now an Incline bear is dead

Kevin MacMillan / North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

INCLINE VILLAGE – State wildlife officials euthanized an 80-pound female bear Tuesday, making it the first victim of the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s new three-strike rule regarding nuisance and aggressive black bears.

NDOW and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call of a bear sleeping inside a large trash receptacle Tuesday morning near Ski Way Ridge in Incline Village, NDOW biologist Carl Lackey said.

Lackey said the bruin had been trapped twice this year in Reno, making Tuesday’s incident the third time it had been caught in a nuisance situation.

“We tranquilized it, removed it from the Dumpster, took it to a remote location in the wilderness and humanely put it down,” Lackey said.

The incident marked the first time a bruin was euthanized in Nevada using a three-strike rule.

Russ Mason, NDOW game division chief, said the rule is part of “The Black Bear Conflict Management Policy and Procedure,” the NDOW’s new bear-handling policy that was enacted within the past two weeks.

“It’s meant to standardize how we deal with bears as an agency as a whole,” Mason said. “What we do when handling bears, it’s all authorized, but nothing is spelled out. We want to make sure that if something were to happen, that there is an actual policy there so someone is protected.”

The policy explains how NDOW makes decisions when handling nuisance bears, whether it be moving, releasing, tranquilizing or euthanizing them.

“It has the three-strike rule in it,” Mason said. “Basically, if we have to handle a bear three times, the third time we kill it.”

The policy also discusses when and how NDOW officials can issue depredation permits to private homeowners. A depredation permit gives a private homeowner the right to euthanize a bear or contact an NDOW official to do it.

Mason said the policy includes a companion document that explains what NDOW would do in the event a human is injured or killed by a bear. NDOW officials can approve a depredation permit if the bear is viewed as a threat or nuisance, Mason said.

“It’s something that probably will be rarely used, but can be used if necessary,” Mason said.

The entire policy could be available for viewing as early as next week, as soon as NDOW Director Ken Mayer’s returns from vacation to sign it, Mason said. It already has been enacted, however, for use by NDOW officials in the field.

“I’m satisfied with the way it reads now,” Mason said.

While the three-strikes rule might be frowned upon, Lackey said its enactment is an unfortunate necessity.

“It’s aimed at the increasing number of bear complaints this year,” he said. “Basically, to a large degree people are still not bear-proofing their trash. (The policy) is in response to the increasing number of bear complaints because of that.”

Mason agreed.

“There’s going to be repeat offenders out there,” he said. “If they keep getting in the habit of getting into someone’s trash and getting rewarded for it, there’s going to be more incidents.

“We need to get people in the habit of allowing wildlife to be wild. They’re not little people in fur suits. Just leave them alone.”

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