Bears Not Faring Well in New Mexico

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New Mexico Game and Fish euthanized less than 100 black bears last year, this year at the beginning of October the number is 226 and climbing. So far this year, 638 black bears have been killed. For the previous two years, the total was a little over 400 for each year.

New Mexico Game and Fish conservation officer Matt Pengelly has euthanized his share. He removed one bear that had gotten into a storage basement at Tim’s Stray Dog Cantina at Taos Ski Valley. The bear had been sniffing around for a month, and then broke through a door and tore the top off a freezer. Pengelly does not believe the bear has much chance of survival since it has such low body mass, but he will take it and release it. Pengelly believes his job is to protect the wildlife and sometimes that also means protecting animals from suffering. Recently a bear that had been tranquillized fell and broke its leg, Pengelly had to euthanize it. Some people think that is barbaric, but there are also those who believe every bear should be shot.

Why are so many bears being killed this year? There are a number of factors according to Game and Fish bear biologist Rick Winslow. “Bears that are habituated to human food will continue to come into town regardless of natural conditions such as drought,” Winslow said in an email. “We also have a large bear population at the moment due to conservative harvest strategies and good environmental conditions leading to good breeding success for the last six years.”

Justin Janowick the bartender at Tim's Stray Dog Cantina may sum it up best when he says, “I’m on the fence about what to do about bears. On the one hand, they’re a nuisance when there’s no food, but hearing him yowling in that cage you know he’s just trying to survive. In that way, I guess we’re all in the same boat.” From The Taos News.


niceshot_smitty's picture

Well living here in New

Well living here in New Mexico i now all about the bears!!  There was 2 bear units that closed this year before the hunting even started.  This is all after they up the number of bears to be hunted this year.  The bears are always in the towns and Big cities here, about every other day you here about the bears in some town.  They even have a 3 strike rule here for bears.  I didn't even bother getting a bear tag this year, because i know that by the time i got out my area would be closed.  SO yes we do have a bear Problem and yes it is not good for the bears here in New Mexico.


hunter25's picture

That's a sad situation and a

That's a sad situation and a huge number of bears being put sown from just trying to survive. Although it may not be normal in New Mexico it will probably continue to become a bigger problem. First I agree that maybe more tags need to be issues to thin them out a little bit more and after that maybe better education on how to protect against them. We have had this going on for many years now here in the mountains of Colorado and in many places it is now mandatory to have bear proof trash containers and such. Even some mild shock devices have been used to keep them away from outdoor coolers at resteraunts. Liek I said a little education could go a long way in maybe saving the lives of these bears rather than killing them for no real use or reason.

numbnutz's picture

This is a tough one for sure.

This is a tough one for sure. The bears are only tring to survive. If there are so many bears in New Mexico why don't they just offer more tags to reduce the numbers. It sounds like to me that there isn't enough natural food sources for all the bears to live on so some are now coming into town to find a meal. Maybe it's just me but that sounds like poor management of the bears. I hope the officals can figure something out and get this problem in check and get the number of bears down. Next we will be reading stories about numrous bear attacks in New Mexico if somethig isn't done about this problem they have going on down there.

SSGJB's picture

Bears coming into town? Maybe

Bears coming into town? Maybe the town moved into the bears territory. I've seen a lot of sub divisons go up in the country then people wonder why is all these wild animals comng into our yards? Well the answer is simple you are in the animals yard. But this might not be the case at all. Bears are curious animals and if they are hungry they will do just about anything to eat and maybe eat anyone that is in their way.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Yeah, that's a tough one. 

Yeah, that's a tough one.  They are only trying to survive, but at the same time, you have to protect the people.  As they said, it's a combination of things.  The bears are hungry, most likely due to the drought causing a food shortage, and they are coming into town looking for food.  It's going to lead to some bad encounters, and unfortunately, the bear, or possibly a person or 2, is going to lose their life.

Maybe there is an overall increase in the population too.  More bears mean more encounters.  It's a tough one.