RENO — State wildlife commissioners voted Saturday to prohibit black bear hunting on the Nevada side of the Lake Tahoe basin.
The move was approved on a 6-3 vote after many Tahoe residents said it was needed to prevent conflicts with hikers, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Under the wildlife commission’s action, the activity also will be prohibited in certain high-use areas around the Carson Range’s Mt. Rose and Galena areas just outside the Tahoe basin.
But bear hunting still will be allowed in other areas of western Nevada, including the Stillwater, Pine Nut and Wassuk ranges.
Kathryn Bricker of NoBearHuntNV.org praised the wildlife commission’s action, saying it will give greater peace of mind to recreation users during hunting season.
But she said her Tahoe-based group will continue to fight for an end to the bear hunt in Nevada. She cited independent scientists who say the nation’s most arid state lacks enough bears to sustain the hunt.
“The commission listened to the public on this specific issue, but not to the public’s overwhelming opposition to the bear hunt,” Bricker said. “But we appreciate that the commission listened to the public on this particular item and think it’s a good start.”
When the wildlife commission approved the bear hunt last year, biologists estimated the state was home to 200 to 300 black bears, with most concentrated in the Carson Range and in and around the Tahoe basin.
County wildlife advisory boards and other sportsmen groups had urged the commission not to change bear hunting boundaries.
Nevada Department of Wildlife spokeswoman Teresa Moiola said there were no reports of conflicts between hunters and other users at Tahoe or elsewhere during the state’s inaugural bear hunt last year when 14 bruins were killed.
There also were no bears killed in the Tahoe basin during the initial hunt.
“The commission took into consideration comments from different user groups,” Moiola said. “They wanted to draw hunting boundaries in a way that addressed the concerns.”
Wildlife commissioners will set hunting quotas for bears in May.