Living in bear country |

Living in bear country

While the recent killing of three bears occurred over on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, it is a good ” albeit sad ” reminder that we in the Truckee area live with bears as well.

From Donner Lake up to Tahoe Donner and over to Prosser Lakeview, bears mean we must be aware of how we live. Whether it’s winter or summer, is the door pulled shut tight behind us as we hurry off to work or school? Did the plumber/electrician/heating guy secure the access door to under the house after he left? Is the trash put away some place that isn’t going to entice a hungry bear (or a scavenging neighborhood dog for that matter)? Are we leaving food out for our pets ” or even worse, birds, squirrels or raccoons ” thinking that that big, furry guy higher up the food chain won’t bother? Wrong.

As a reader wrote, “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

And despite an occasional “transplant” (read publicized case) of a “problem” bear to another region, the California Department of Fish and Game’s primary management tool is to issue bear-plagued homeowners something called a depredation permit, which is a sanitized term for a license to kill.

The “problem,” however, isn’t usually the bear, it is us. A good example is observing the trash can enclosures most homes in Tahoe Donner use. More than once we have driven past a row of homes with unmolested sturdy metal boxes while the next is a wood enclosure, its doors dangling from broken hinges.

That foraging bear was obviously smarter than your average Tahoe Donner homeowner.

While this is beautiful territory for humans to live, it has always been bear country. So unless we wipe out our resident black bear like our forefathers did the grizzly bear, we should reevaluate what ” and who ” turns our wild neighbors into a “problem.”

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