Most people don’t realize that the Nevada Department of Wildlife permits trophy hunters and outfitting guides to kill black bears, much less that they are permitted to use packs of radio-collared trailing hounds during Nevada’s bear-hunting season, which runs from Sept. 15 to Dec. 1.
A mother bear gives birth to her cubs in the den, usually in January or February. Her cubs will be only eight to 10 months old when Nevada’s bear-hunting season commences. She will do all she can to protect her babies; she’ll send her cubs up a tree and divert the hounds by continuing the chase. If she’s killed, the trophy hunter will never know he’s doomed others. Who will care for the orphaned cubs when their mother gets shot at close range while cornered in a tree? Bear cubs have no orphanages.
Like humans, bears are highly sentient and family-oriented. A mother will give devoted energy to raising her cubs until they are 15 to 18 months old. She and her cubs will spend a second winter together in the den. But if she’s killed before they reach hibernation, she can’t teach her young how to obtain sufficient food in order to survive and they surely cannot fend for themselves.
When trophy hunting and outfitting guides pit hounds against bears, what message are we sending to our kids? Chasing bears using hounds causes both species to suffer from exhaustion, injury and/or death. It’s time to end bear hunting and all hounding in Nevada. Wildlife belong to all of us, not just the few trophy hunters who want to have a bear skin rug.