The three black bears caught in west Reno were released into the mountains above Spooner Lake Tuesday, near an area where the female has been found before. The female and her two cubs were caught by a Nevada Department of Wildlife game warden on Sunday night/Monday morning. The bears were caught in the Juniper Ridge area off of Mayberry Drive.
The female had been caught in west Reno under similar circumstances, in the hot and dry year of 2007. "She weighed about 200 pounds, just what a wild land female should weigh," said biologist Carl Lackey. "The two cubs, one male and one female, weighed about 50 pounds apiece. The three of them are perfect candidates for aversion conditioning."
The female was also caught, according to Lackey, as part of wild land black bear research project in 2010 in Little Valley (above Washoe Valley in the Carson Range). "The Carson Range is the female’s home range and the fact that we have caught her before in Little Valley makes a backcountry release above Spooner Lake a perfect place for her and the cubs. They have a good change to remain wild when we release them."
NDOW personnel have caught and released 14 bears during the month of October. West Reno and the west side of Carson City have been "hotspots" for bears since early October as area fruit trees ripen and bears hone in on "easy meals" as they prepare for winter.
Bears are still in the physiological state of hyperphagia where their in-take of food can increase from 3,000 calories a day to as many as 25,000 calories per day. "Their one and only job is eating this time of year and they are very good at it," says Lackey. Sierra Nevada black bears usually go into hibernation in between Thanksgiving and Christmas as food sources become harder to find.
Persons needing to report nuisance bear activity can call the NDOW’s Bear Hotline telephone number at (775) 688-BEAR (2327). For information on living with bears persons can go to www.ndow.org and find the "Bear Logic" page.