Black bears in El Dorado County at Lake Tahoe will no longer be shot with rubber buckshot if they become a nuisance to people in their search for grub.
As bruins begin to emerge from winter hibernation, the sheriff´s office has called an immediate halt to the aversion tactic because people continue to encourage bears by leaving trash, pet food and other edibles outside.
Sheriff´s Lieutenant Les Lovell says people have a responsibility not to encourage problem bears. An unless the food attraction is eliminated, the program won´t work.
Ann Bryant of the BEAR League supports the decision. She says shooting the bears with rubber bullets because people are careless with garbage amounts to wildlife torture. Lovell says alternative methods are being researched, including a paintball-type weapon loaded with pepper spray.