A planned Lake Tahoe area bear hunt is being challenged in court by a group that claims bear hunting and tourism don’t mix.
From this story in the Silicon Valley Mercury-News:
Critics of Nevada’s first black bear hunt are worried that with hunters and hikers near Lake Tahoe sharing the same woods, it won’t only be bears that get shot. “Someone could be out hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail with their family and along comes a pack of dogs running across the trail, followed by a guy who comes along with a gun. It’s a whole different atmosphere,” said Madonna Dunbar, resource conservationist for the Incline Village General Improvement District on the lake’s north shore. “People are really concerned there will be an accident and someone will get killed,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press. State wildlife officials have issued 45 licenses and say hunters will be trained so they know where it is safe to shoot, but opponents worried for the safety of tourists and residents have taken their concerns to court.
_NoBearHuntNV.org filed a lawsuit in Carson City District Court last week to try to block the bear hunting season scheduled to run Aug. 20-Dec. 31. Although 45 licenses were issued, the total harvest is limited to 20 bears, only six of which can be female. Hunters can use dogs, but are prohibited from using bait. It also is illegal to kill a sow accompanied by a cub or to kill a cub. The lawsuit claims state wildlife commissioners adopted the hunt’s regulations illegally because they failed to provide proper public notice or examine the potential negative impact on the local tourism-based economy. But it also raises concerns about safety in an area popular for downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter, and hiking and mountain biking most of the rest of the year.
Obviously the good folks of Lake Tahoe have heard about the horrible and rampant epidemic of tourist shootings by bear hunters in every other western state with both bear and tourist seasons, and don’t wish to go down that perilous road. The solution is obvious: simply ban tourists during bear season. Viola! Problem solved. Anyone have a better solution?