Bear killed in Tahoe Vista sparks community outrage

Hannah Jones
(Sierra Sun file photo)

UPDATE: According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, it does not trap and kill problem bears. According to officials, the department issues permits to licensed trappers who then set the trap and euthanize the bear when Fish and Wildlife determines it to be necessary. The Sierra Sun regrets the error.

A bear that was trapped and killed in Tahoe Vista early Friday morning sparked outrage in the community after the Bear League posted about the events on its Facebook page

According to Ann Bryant, executive director of the Bear League, a trap was set on Wildwood Drive in Tahoe Vista after a bear repeatedly broke into the car of a homeowner. The trap was triggered by a bear at around 2 a.m. and was taken away early Friday morning. 

“Killing a bear has never been the solution,” said Bryant. “The bears are fine as long as you don’t invite them by leaving food in your car or your bird feeder out. It’s the simple dos and don’ts of living in bear country.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is required by law to issue a depredation permit if a homeowner can show property damage has occurred, said Peter Tira, information officer for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

“There has to be corrective measures taken to some degree before a depredation permit is issued,” Tira said. “It’s typically not for a one time offending bear.”

The policy states “the permit allows the permittee or designee to kill the offending bear regardless of the time of year. But a depredation permit is the last step in a series of steps taken to eliminate the problem.”

The homeowner was granted a depredation permit after a bear caused damage to their property. A biologist confirmed that the bear that was trapped was the bear causing the damage, Tira said.

Bryant said she received multiple calls from concerned neighbors when they saw that the trap was set and immediately got in contact with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A Facebook post from the Bear League had nearly 700 comments and over 650 shares. Bryant said they deleted the post from the league’s Facebook page after a comment was left threatening to burn the homeowner’s house down.

The Sierra Sun will be updating this story as more information becomes available.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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