Tag Archives: bear

Poacher Receives Two-Year Prison Sentence for Wasting Game, Other Offenses

Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 651-2084

A bear poaching conviction has landed a Novato man in state prison for two years. Wayne Richard Barsch, 49, was already a two-strike felon when sentenced on Feb. 4 by Glenn County Judge John Tiernan. Barch will also face an as-yet-undermined fine, and his hunting and fishing privileges have been revoked for life.

Barsch was contacted by Warden Mike Beals in rural Glenn County in December 2010. Beals was on a routine patrol when he encountered Barsch and his two hunting partners attempting to process a bear they had killed at least a day earlier. The terrain near the kill site was extremely rugged and Barsch was having difficulty transporting the carcass and equipment back to his truck.

A check through DFG dispatch revealed Barsch was a convicted felon and had a restraining order against him, either of which would prevent him from being in possession of any firearm. Warden Beals found that Barsch was in possession of .45 handgun, a bear head, four bear paws and the bear gall bladder, but only 15 lbs. of bear meat (far less than what would be expected to come from a 200 lb. carcass). It is a crime in California to waste meat from any game animal. Barsch had also failed to tag the bear after killing it.

Since Barsch was on searchable probation, seven wardens went to his residence. In his freezer they found another bear gall bladder, five bear paws, a bear head and a bear penis, as well as meat from a female deer that was possibly taken unlawfully.

Barsch will serve at least 85 percent of the two-year prison sentence handed down last week. Because he was a two-strike felon, the courts may add to his prison sentence.

DFG Biologists Return Rehabbed Bear Cub to Lassen National Forest

Marc Kenyon, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3515
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

An orphaned black bear cub was safely returned to its remote northern California forest home this week after five months at a Lake Tahoe wildlife care facility. Once near death, the male yearling cub has been deemed by experts to be fully rehabilitated, healthy and very likely able to survive on its own.

The cub was emaciated and weak when it was first spotted by a logger working in the Lassen National Forest (Tehama County) last September. Evidence at the scene indicated that the tiny bear’s mother had died before it learned to forage for food on its own. It was also suffering from severe hair loss, which would have made it unlikely to survive the approaching winter.

A warden from the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) was able to easily capture the cub with a trap. When it arrived at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, a licensed rehab center, the tiny bear weighed only 18 lbs. — far less than the usual weight of about 30 lbs. for a cub that age. With the assistance of charitable donations, staff at the nonprofit center treated the animal for ringworm and nursed it back to health over a five-month period.

This week, DFG biologists picked up the cub – which now weighs a hearty 90 lbs. – and transported it from Tahoe back to the Lassen National Forest. With the assistance of the U.S. Forest Service, the cub was tranquilized and transported deep into the woods, where it was tucked into a pre-dug bear den in a carefully selected, secluded spot in the heart of bear territory. The entrance to the den was covered and camouflaged, and the hope is that the young bear will return to his natural state of hibernation, emerging later this spring to build a new life in the same forest where he was born.

In 2010, five black bear cubs in similar condition were found in different locations and placed by DFG into care facilities for safety, temporary care and rehabilitation. Four of the cubs, all from northern California, were cared for at the Tahoe facility and returned to the wild over the last few weeks. The fifth cub, from Southern California, was transported to a care facility in Arizona.

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According to Marc Kenyon, DFG’s Bear Program Coordinator, five cubs is the average number rehabilitated in licensed care facilities every year. They are typically found in the summer and fall, and are returned to the wild in the late winter, toward the end of the hibernation period.

In order to qualify for rehabilitation, a found cub must be clearly be both orphaned and in distress, as well as younger than a year old and unaccustomed to humans. Licensed rehabilitators are specially trained to assess the animal’s health and chances for survival, and to provide the cub with what it needs to survive — without taming it.

“We want to help these bears survive and return to the population, but in doing so, we must be sure that they don’t get used to being around people,” Kenyon said. “Once bears are no longer wary of people, they become ‘nuisance bears’ that are no longer wild.”

Throughout California, the black bear population has steadily been increasing over the past 25 years, and is now conservatively estimated to be around 40,000 statewide.Though black bears are not an endangered, threatened or protected species, the continued success of the population depends on the survival of tiny cubs such as this one.

Kenyon said that DFG’s goal in approving the careful rehabilitation and relocation of young bears is twofold. “We want to keep wild species wild, and to keep common species common,” he said. “You can’t do one without the other.”

DFG Returns Yearling Bears to the Wild

Media Contacts:
Marc Kenyon, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3515
Dana Michaels, Office of Communications, (916) 322-2420

sedated bear cub in trailer
Sedated bear cub before release. DFG photo by Dana Michaels.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has successfully returned two California black bear yearlings to the remote wilderness near Truckee. Both female cubs were orphaned last summer.

One cub was illegally dumped last June on the front porch of Ann Bryant, executive director of the BEAR League. Weighing only 12 pounds, the cub was emaciated and starving. The other cub was reported by a citizen who kept seeing it alone and bawling, near Markleeville last August. A DFG investigation determined that the bear was an orphan. “It weighed about 30 pounds and was unusually lethargic for a cub,” said Cristen Langner, DFG’s bear biologist in the Tahoe Basin.

Both cubs were taken to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (LTWC) – a wildlife rehabilitation facility licensed by DFG. While at LTWC, they were fed and housed in a way that prevented them from becoming habituated to humans, so they could be returned to the wild when they were old enough to care for themselves.

DFG Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator Nicole Carion oversaw the cubs’ care and arranged for their release in suitable habitat, away from human activity. DFG staff Ryan Carrothers, Shelly Blair, Marc Kenyon, Sarah Deaton, Cristen Langner and David Casady transported the sedated bears, then placed them in a manmade den at a wild and secluded location nestled in the Sierra Nevadas. The operation concluded as planned with the cooperation of University of California at Berkeley and Sagehen Creek Field Station staff. When released, the two yearlings weighed approximately 70 and 85 pounds.

Marc Kenyon, DFG statewide bear program coordinator, points out that people should never assume a young animal in the wild has been abandoned by its mother. In many cases, human interference with wildlife will result in abandonment by their species, and sometimes their inevitable captivity or death. “In the vast majority of circumstances, cubs or other wildlife that appear to be abandoned are simply being cared for by their mother from afar. She’s usually off obtaining the nutrition required to rear her offspring. But in the rare circumstance when something unfortunate happens, DFG has the ability and expertise to ensure appropriate care for the young until they can be safely released into the wild, such as these cubs. I fully expect them to become wild bears when they wake up in their new home this spring.”

DFG recommends that people leave wildlife alone, including removing attractants from their properties. If this is not an option, contact DFG. For more information, please see www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/. Continue reading DFG Returns Yearling Bears to the Wild