Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in outdoor and travel markets. A former small-town newspaper editor and reporter, she constantly hunts for news headlines you need to read. Barbara also publishes Women’s Outdoor News online and pens columns for the National Wild Turkey Federation and Shooting Sports USA. Hailing from the Ozarks of Missouri, this avid hunter is now mentoring the second generation of hunters - her own little bevy of Realtree-wearing grandchildren.
A Nevada Bear Trap to Stop Hunting
Bear with me, as we once again broach the topic of bear hunting in the West. Anti-hunting organizations in Nevada are trying to use the Endangered Species Act to stop bear hunting in a section of mountains.
On July 3, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published a news release titled “American Black Bear Does Not Warrant Protection Under the Endangered Species Act.” According to the release, Big Wildlife and NoBearHuntNV.org filed a petition last September to add the black bear to the list of endangered species as a distinct population segment.
That means the USFWS needed to agree that black bears in Nevada “are markedly separate from other black bears outside of the state based on physical, physiological, ecological or behavioral factors.” They could not find any such distinctions.
Said Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office State Supervisor Ted Koch, “It's the same black bears on either side of the California and Nevada state line and there is no biological difference associated with this political boundary. Therefore, the bears on the Nevada side do not warrant treatment as a separate species under the ESA.”
Just a little primer on the Endangered Species Act, and what it is supposed to do: The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found.
I am in agreement with the editorial penned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal that stated, “The Endangered Species Act was enacted to prevent Americans having to read of the death of the continent's last bison, grizzly bear or bald eagle. Anyone warning, at the time of passage, that it would be used to block human use of vast areas via pretend concern over the fate of obscure weeds and bugs would have been dismissed as an alarmist with an overactive imagination.”
Anti-hunting groups in Nevada claim that the “sky island” bear population, aka those bears that live in the western mountain ranges, are endangered. By the way, last year, Nevada held its inaugural bear hunt and 14 bears were tagged -- total. The groups purport, using a tired tactic, that biologists can’t (or won’t) count correctly. They believe there are too few black bears in these mountains.
What a stretch – to waste tax dollars on yet another attempt to stop hunting. But brace yourselves. They’ll be back again. Probably even with another petition to save the “sky island” black bears.