In a surprise vote late Wednesday night, the Washoe County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife voted not to endorse the new bear hunt being considered by the Nevada Wildlife Commission.

The 5 member board will send their opinion to the August 13th Commission meeting in Fallon, Nevada.

“This bear hunt has been rammed down the throats of the public by the Commission,” said Vice Chair Rick Smith. “I’m not against the hunt because I believe we can have one. I’m voting against it because of how it was presented to the public. You didn’t see it coming and neither did we.”

“I’m not sure where the hell I stand. The numbers against the hunt are pretty high. I don’t see how we ignore that,” said board member John Reed.

Twelve members of the public spoke against the hunt while three were for it. Chairman Flowers showed a 2″ thick folder of emails the board had received. “There are hundreds here, almost all against the hunt.”

During comments the board was shown nearly 5000 signatures gathered on paper by the grassroots organization NoBearHuntNV.org. Organizer Billy Howard told the board that people signing the petitions even at that moment. “We don’t just ask for people’s signatures, we ask them to take a sheet and get some, too.. They are pouring into our mailbox. Together with our online signatures we have over 13,000 people signing on against the hunt.”

“This is a painful topic. I think the people against the hunt should have at least one more chance to air their feelings and I’m not sure they will have another recourse if the hunt is made permanent. I don’t see how we can ignore the 13,000 or so signatures,” mused Reed.

The Wildlife Commission voted for the bear hunt regulation in December, but Nevada law states the ruling could only be considered temporary because the Legislature was in session at the time. Once the Legislature disbands agencies then make their temporary regulations permanent. The Nevada Legislature convenes once every two years.

Chairman Rex Flowers supplied the sole yes vote. “I feel the regulation is well thought out. If the hunt does not go well it will come to an end.”

But Smith countered, “If we don’t approve making the hunt permanent we’re sending the message to the Commission that we can come up with compromises on this issue and work it out.”

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