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Bear hunt opponents get new life
Aug 04, 2011 | 2989 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo/NDOW - The Nevada Department of Wildlife recently has captured several black bears that have wandered into populated areas of northern Nevada.
Courtesy Photo/NDOW - The Nevada Department of Wildlife recently has captured several black bears that have wandered into populated areas of northern Nevada.
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RENO - Just hours after a state court judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit aimed at stopping Nevada’s first black bear hunt, opponents scored a “huge victory” when the Washoe County citizens advisory board to the state’s Wildlife Commission voted down plans to make the hunt permanent.

In a 4-1 vote, the advisory board recommended that the Wildlife Commission not extend the bear-hunting season beyond 2011.

The turnabout gave opponents more ammunition in their nearly yearlong fight against the proposed hunt, which is set to begin Aug. 20 and run through Dec. 31.

“The crush of sentiment against this hunt is growing,” said Billy Howard, 53, a Reno resident and leading organizer of the group NoBearHuntNV.org.

Approved regulations allow for up to 45 tags to be issued with a limit of 20 bears killed. Only six of those killed can be females, at which time the hunt would cease.

An estimated 300 black bears call the Lake Tahoe area home, according to biologists.

About 13 people voiced their opposition to the hunt at the advisory board meeting Wednesday night, while three persons expressed support.

Howard presented board members with about 5,000 signatures protesting the hunt.

Some board members said the hunt had been rammed down the throat of the public.

After state judge James Wilson ruled against NoBearHuntNV.org, advocates moved quickly to shore up support from the advisory board.

Howard said he intends to present a petition with almost 14,000 signatures to the Wildlife Commission when it meets Aug. 12 and 13 in Fallon to rule on the permanency of the hunt.

“We’ll be there in force,” Howard said.

Opponents are hoping this year’s bear hunt will be shelved at that time.

“I believe it is very likely we will have a reversal of this (policy),” Howard said.

If the Wildlife Commission moves forward with the black bear hunt this year and beyond, Howard said opponents would take their pleas to Gov. Brian Sandoval.
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