A black bear sow and her three male cubs were captured Thursday morning on the west side of Carson City by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. The four bears were safely released back in to the wild on Friday morning in the Ash Canyon area west of Nevada’s capital city.
The bears were on the verge of becoming “conflict” bears before the capture. “They had been raiding garbage cans and searching for fallen fruit from trees,” said NDOW biologist Carl Lackey. “NDOW’s new family trap, which has multiple trap chambers, was used in the capture.”
The sow was tranquilized outside the trap and placed in a secure chamber of the trap while the cubs remained up a tall tree. The three cubs eventually came down the tree and were caught in the second chamber. “That is how we were able to reunite the sow with her cubs,” said Lackey.
The release took place on early Friday morning in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Ash Canyon. Because cubs were involved a “soft release” technique was used. “During a soft release, we do not chase the bears with Karelian bear dogs because of the danger of separating the sow and the cubs,” said Lackey.
Nevada’s black bears normally begin hibernation between Thanksgiving and Christmas but can delay their sleeping plans if weather remains moderate and food is still available to the bears.