The Lake Tahoe area has had its share of bears getting into garbage cans and cabins, but what no one has said is that man has encroached into the bear habitat and has left tantalizing morsels readily available for consumption. Just because bears are big animals and have big appetites doesn’t mean they are opposed to an easily accessible meal, like garbage, when they encounter it.
I resent this bear hunting because it is just another sign that man has taken over the forest. What this bear hunting really means is that now man will be able to legally kill off the bear population in the Lake Tahoe area. As it now stands, there will only be a few bear tags for the hunt available during any given year, but that number could go up.
I am further appalled that the Nevada fish and game people have authorized this hunt, because there is no telling how many female bears will be killed. The females might have cubs somewhere in the forest that will be orphaned and they might starve or be killed by other predators as a result of their mother being killed.
Additionally, there is no guarantee that the “lucky” hunters who acquire a bear tag will be expert enough to actually shoot the bear and not some unsuspecting civilian walking in the woods for a scenic experience in the Sierra Nevadas. Since man’s presence is what has led to the bears being labeled a “nuisance” in the first place, it seems likely that a human will at some point be mistaken for a bear by not-so-expert hunters suffering from bear fever.
Even if a hunter has a high-powered rifle with the most powerful scope, there is no guarantee he or she will hit the intended target. These rifles will shoot a long way and if the shooter misses there is no guarantee where that bullet will land. True enough, these high-powered rifles are accurate and the scopes are marvelous at spotting game, but even the ones with the most accuracy and power are prone to missing if they receive even the slightest bump or bang.
If you watch expert military snipers, they pamper their weapons more than their family. They know that their life depends on the accuracy of that weapon and the least jostle could spell disaster for not only their mission, but also their life.
I can’t believe the Nevada Department of Wildlife needs this bear hunt to fill its coffers due to the various budget cuts all state agencies have experienced. I’ve not heard that this was a reason to promote these bear hunts, but the bear hunt will bring in revenue nonetheless.
We need a more humane solution to this problem that man has created. Instead of killing the bears, move the ones that are rummaging in the garbage bins to areas where they will no longer pose a problem to man. There is no reason to kill these lumbering giants of the forest because man has gotten in their way. Yes, they probably are a nuisance and they do pose a safety problem, but all that is true because man has caused the problem. The bears are not the problem, man is the problem.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at email@example.com.