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January 7, 2011

New Poll Reveals Overwhelming Opposition to Inhumane Bear Trophy-Hunting Practices

Nevada Voters Greatly Prefer Non-Lethal Methods of Managing Black Bears

A statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. has revealed that Nevada voters strongly oppose hunting black bears with dogs and hunting bears in the spring when mother bears are nursing dependent cubs — both of which have been proposed as components of Nevada’s first black bear trophy hunt.

Voters strongly agree, by 74 to 20 percent, that the state should prioritize non-lethal methods of solving conflicts between people and bears. The survey results were consistent in every geographic region of the state and in every political demographic, with all regions and all political affiliations in favor of non-lethal solutions.

The poll comes after the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners voted in early December to initiate the first trophy hunting of black bears in state history. Nevada has protected black bears since 1929, and it is estimated that there are as few as 150 bears in the state. This hunt would simply be an exercise in obtaining heads and hides for trophy hunters.

“This survey confirms that residents oppose the trophy hunting of black bears when extreme practices are involved, such as chasing bears with packs of dogs, and shooting mother bears with dependent cubs in the spring, leaving the young animals to die,” said Andrew Page, senior director for the Wildlife Abuse Campaign at The HSUS. “Voters want real solutions, not inhumane and unsporting trophy hunts.”

Voters are about evenly split on whether to allow a bear hunt in Nevada. The survey of 625 Nevada voters was conducted statewide from Dec. 13 through Dec. 15, 2010. The margin of error is plus or minus four percent. The questions and results are below.

QUESTION: The state of Nevada has protected black bears since 1929, and according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife there are as few as 150 black bears in the entire state. Some are proposing allowing bear hunting in Nevada for the first time in over 70 years. Do you support or oppose the hunting of black bears in Nevada?

 

State

Men

Women

Dem.

Rep.

Ind.

Clark

Washoe

Rural

Support

45%

52%

39%

35%

57%

44%

40%

50%

60%

Oppose

42%

34%

49%

51%

32%

41%

42%

43%

37%

Undecided

13%

14%

12%

14%

11%

15%

18%

7%

3%

 

QUESTION: If the state permits the hunting of black bears, it must also issue rules to regulate the bear hunt. Do you support or oppose permitting the use of packs of dogs to pursue and corner or tree bears where they are killed?

 

State

Men

Women

Dem.

Rep.

Ind.

Clark

Washoe

Rural

Support

29%

37%

21%

17%

41%

34%

27%

25%

45%

Oppose

57%

45%

69%

71%

42%

53%

58%

59%

46%

Undecided

14%

18%

10%

12%

17%

13%

15%

16%

9%

 

QUESTION: Do you support or oppose permitting the killing of nursing mother bears with cubs as young as two months old?

 

State

Men

Women

Dem.

Rep.

Ind.

Clark

Washoe

Rural

Support

13%

19%

6%

9%

17%

15%

12%

11%

21%

Oppose

82%

74%

90%

89%

75%

79%

83%

85%

72%

Undecided

5%

7%

4%

2%

8%

6%

5%

4%

7%

 

QUESTION: Bears sometimes come into conflict with people. The vast majority of these reported conflicts are nuisance complaints about garbage cans, bird feeders and simple sightings of bears near urban areas. Many states successfully manage bear populations and reduce conflict through non-lethal measures such as public education, trash management, and game officials using rubber pellets and loud noises to frighten bears away, instead of killing them.

Do you support or oppose Nevada placing priority on policies that promote non-lethal methods to reduce conflicts between bears and people?

 

State

Men

Women

Dem.

Rep.

Ind.

Clark

Washoe

Rural

Support

74%

64%

83%

78%

69%

75%

76%

77%

62%

Oppose

20%

27%

14%

16%

24%

21%

19%

18%

27%

Undecided

6%

9%

3%

6%

7%

4%

5%

5%

11%

FACTS

  • There has never been an established black bear hunt in the state of Nevada, and the species has been protected since 1929.
  • The most recent data available to the public estimates the population to be as low as 150 animals, an incredibly small number when compared to other western states that allow bear hunting.
  • Hunting may actually increase human-bear conflicts and causes only a short-term reduction in bear populations, followed by an increase.
  • The Nevada Department of Wildlife previously stated that, “A legal harvest season would then not seem to be a solution to the nuisance bear problem” because, when a bear is removed, another quickly moves in to take his or her place.
  • No person has ever been killed by a bear in the state’s history. According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the only attack was minor and caused by a person attempting to feed a bear.
  • Most conflicts with bears can easily be eliminated simply by making garbage and other human food sources inaccessible.
  • According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, “95% of the annual complaints received are a result of bears becoming conditioned to human sources of food, mainly garbage.”
  • According to polls in the Nevada Appeal, the Tahoe Daily Tribune and the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, a majority of respondents oppose bear hunting in Nevada.

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