My Turn: Don’t call NDOW if you see a bear
March 19, 2012
INCLINE VILAGE, Nev. – The bear on Matchless Court did not have to die. This community has made tremendous progress in educating individuals and businesses in bear-safe practices, including gaining control of our garbage. Vacation rental managers are striving to ensure that visitors are properly instructed in these matters also.
While this may seem counter-intuitive, I strongly believe that the Nevada Department of Wildlife is not a part of this solution and should rarely, if ever, be called in a bear situation. Calling NDOW just about ensures a death sentence for the bear.
So what to do? Call the BEAR League at 530-525-PAWS. This noble organization is composed of volunteers trained in bear aversion tactics – methods designed to ensure the bear will go away and not come back. For more information on how to get involved, become a volunteer or to make a donation, visit the website: savebears.org.
Some people may think to call the sheriff. Three people from different areas of the sheriff’s department each had a unique way of dealing with a bear problem. A deputy on site was extremely concerned about a member of the Bear League, who was utilizing accepted bear aversion tactics in the area of Matchless Court in an attempt to save the bear, that the activity was entering the realm of disturbing the peace and harassing wildlife.
Dispatch told me that when a bear call comes in, the sheriff then has to call NDOW.
I spoke to a sergeant who told me it was not required that NDOW be called nor can a person be arrested for employing bear aversion tactics. He admitted that currently there is not a department policy in place for dealing with bear calls. He also committed to work with bear advocates in drafting a departmental bear policy – this is very good news for the bears.
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Call the sheriff if you must but please do not call NDOW!
The Department of Wildlife first came to my attention when I became involved in trying to stop the bear hunt. I felt that before I spoke out, I needed to know the facts so I watched videos (posted on the ndow.org website) of the meetings of the wildlife commission regarding the bear hunt.
The commission is required to allow public comment where many passionate, eloquent, intelligent people spoke out against the bear hunt. It was painfully obvious that these nine commissioners were scarcely listening to, much less heeding the pleas of the people.
In addition to the complete disregard for the will of the people, this commission defers to the state biologist for advice, who happens to own a critter removal business. Yes, our state biologist profits from the killing of the wildlife he is supposed to be protecting!
I have reached the conclusion due to these and other issues that our department of wildlife, whose mission statement reads, in part: “To protect, preserve, manage and restore wildlife and its habitat for … economic benefits to citizens of Nevada …” has lost sight of its mission and is no longer working for the people of Nevada.
So please, call the BEAR League if you are having a bear problem. Together we can keep our bears safe and free.
– Toree Warfield is an Incline Village resident.