ELKO – A black bear has visited South Fork and the Carlin area in the past two days.
A South Fork resident heard her dogs barking around 1 a.m. Tuesday and saw something dark near her chicken coop. The dogs chased it off and a game warden investigated later that morning, according to Joe Doucette of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
It was identified as an American black bear by its paw prints and hair found at the chicken coop, he said.
At least two people in Carlin saw a bear Wednesday morning, and it was likely the same animal.
“It’s not surprising,” Doucette said, although most bear sightings are in the northern part of the county when animals migrate from Idaho. Most of Nevada’s bear population is in northwest Nevada around the Sierra.
Doucette said someone reported seeing a bear last fall at Green Mountain, near Harrison Pass. The bear seen this week may be the same one, if it hibernated in the Ruby Mountains.
“Much of Nevada at one point was bear habitat,” Doucette said, until the early 1900s.
Bears are generally not a threat to people.
“If you’re approached by one do not run,” he said. Instead, give the animal room and try to make yourself look bigger by waving your arms.
The large omnivores tend to avoid populated areas, but they are attracted to chicken coops and beehives. Homeowners can keep them safe by installing an electric fence.
Nevada wildlife commissioners approved the state’s first black bear hunt in 2011, a move that still generates controversy.
Anyone who sees a bear can report it to NDOW at 800-992-3030 or 775-688-1332.
Rarest animal sightings in Elko County:
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