Thursday, 31 January 2008 10:14

Goldfield Black Bear Incident

Written by Marshall Goldy
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I recently read an article in the Tonopah Times Bonanza & Goldfield News about a black bear that was found wandering around Goldfield eating what it could find.  The bear spent the night on the porch of a local judge's house until someone called the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and an officer was sent from Reno to capture the bear.  That is nothing out of the ordinary for this area if you don't count the fact that an NDOW officer responded in a timely manner.  I guess the fact that this bear was involved with a local judge gave NDOW "incentive" to answer this call.

I have talked to a number of people who have told me they have called the NDOW office and have never received a return phone call.  I know this to be true because I have left two messages requesting a call back which was never received.  I called after one of my neighbors had a black bear break into her house and never received any response from any NDOW officials.  This despite the fact that the Douglas County Sheriff's Department called NDOW and requested that Officer Carl Lackey respond to the scene of the break in.  As the block captain of our Neighborhood Watch, I made these two attempts at contacting NDOW for the victim who lived by herself.  Never got a call back.

NDOW director Kenneth Mayer, Chief Russ Mason and Officer Carl Lackey have countless times said that they (NDOW) respond to all calls that come into their office.  With all of the people I have talked to and my personal experience with them, it is clear that these three public servants have been less than honest with their tax paying public.  If that is true, what else have they been dishonest (lied) about?

Now back to the news article.  The NDOW officer (the article doesn't give a name) estimated the female bear to be about five years old and weighed about 70 pounds.  The bear was malnourished and had sores on her feet.  The NDOW officer tranquilized, tagged and examined the bear.  The officer told the crowd of people watching this capture that the bear "would be released elsewhere but was unsure if she would be treated first".

I hope this NDOW officer did not know what he/she was talking about after what he/she said to these on lookers!

Releasing this malnourished, 70 pound, injured bear would be a crime.  The only way they (NDOW) could not have taken this bear for medical treatment was to kill it.  If they did euthanize this bear, this NDOW officer lied to these people.  If they released this bear, NDOW would cause the slow, agonizing death of this bear by starvation.

NDOW Chief Russ Mason and Officer Carl Lackey have also on numerous occasions said that relocating (releasing the bear out of the area of capture) problem bears does not work which is why NDOW does not "relocate" bears after capture.  Now, who was not telling the truth:  Russ Mason & Carl Lackey or the NDOW officer at this scene?  What else have they been dishonest about?

In news articles published since September of 1992, NDOW officials have told the public that the bear population in Nevada is between 200 and 300 bears.  This number has not changed in 15 years.  This summer, they have told us that they have had an estimated 84 bears killed by motor vehicles.  At one meeting I attended, they said that there have been 207 bears killed since 1997 and that the bear population in this area has not changed in years.  I also know that a number of bears have been killed by ranchers that have not contacted NDOW because they received no help from NDOW when the bear problems were reported the first time.  It is very clear to me that NDOW does not have any idea how many black bears are living in this area or any other area of Nevada.  Carl Lackey admitted not knowing how many "wild" bears there are in Nevada while at a Wildlife Commission meeting in Reno (I was also at that meeting).

The California Department of Fish & Game estimates that there are between 10,000 and 12,000 black bears in the Sierra area of that state.  Since black bears have a known roaming area of 15 to 20 square miles, it is fare to assume that at any one time, the Sierra area of Nevada may have a great deal more than the figures given by NDOW.

Since NDOW does not know the "wild" bear population of Nevada, how can they keep using the 200 to 300 figure they keep telling the public?  The fact is they have no idea at all.

On January 10, 2008 I requested further information form NDOW as to the above bear capture in Goldfield. I received an answer on January 14th.   I asked the questions below and received the following answers from Doug Nielsen, Conservation Education Supervisor, NDOW Southern Region.


Q:  What was the bear's condition on capture?

A:  The biologist who handled the capture described the bear as being in fair condition but noticeably thin.   


Q:  Was the bear a tagged or collared bear?

A:  The bear was not wearing an ear tag nor a collar when it was captured, however, biologists did tag the bear and fit it with a collar after it was captured.


Q:  Any medical treatment given to the bear.

A:  The bear was given an examination and dosed with antibiotics, prophylactics & vitamins.


Q:  Was the bear released out of the area and if so, at what location?

A:  Yes, the bear was transported to an area in the Sierra Nevada where biologists expected the bear would  have the best chance of finding suitable habitat with food sources sufficient to sustain the animal.

Unfortunately, the bear was later struck by a vehicle and killed while crossing a major road.

Thank you for your inquiry.


Doug Nielsen

Conservation Education Supervisor

NDOW, Southern Region

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

702-486-5127 x 3500

So, it appears that the Nevada Department of Wildlife does, in fact, relocate captured black bears which is what NDOW officials have been telling us.

What else are they being misleading or dishonest about.


Article Submitted by:

Marshall Goldy

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I retired as a Public Safety Officer after 32 years service with Federal (U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Ranger), State and local law enforcement agencies.  I have two college degrees and have testified in courts as an expert witness.  I have hunted and fished in Montana, Wyoming, North & South Dakota, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and California and now live in the Carson Valley of Nevada.



Last modified on Wednesday, 06 February 2008 01:23
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