Joined by the wildlife advocacy group Big Wildlife, NoBearHuntNV.org hopes to have the government formally find that bears existing in the Carson, Sweetwater, Pine Nut and Wassuk ranges are a unique population. They call the bears the “Sky Island” black bear population.
Kathryn Bricker, executive director of NoBearHuntNV, said Gov. Brian Sandoval is allowing the Nevada Wildlife Commission to “be run like a private hunting club.” The group has presented the governor’s office with 15,000 petition signatures and other statements of opposition to the hunt.
Critics say the hunt will have a “critical impact” on an already-stressed bear population.
Seven bears have been killed since the hunting season commenced Aug. 20. A maximum of 20, no more than six of them female, can be killed during a season ending in late December. The wildlife commission is scheduled to meet Sept. 23-24 in Reno to determine whether the bear hunt should be made permanent.
Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said he’s doubtful the petition will be granted under established guidelines of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"It just doesn't meet any of the criteria," Healy said. "Just because there's a line on a map doesn't make something a distinct population."