BEAR FEEDERS ISSUED CITATIONS BY GAME AND FISH
CEDAR CREST, N.M. - Residents of Sandia Park and Cedar Crest
received citations for causing a nuisance game animal, the New Mexico
Department of Game and Fish reported Friday. Both citations involve the
feeding of black bears.
Paul G. Schmiedeberg of Cedar Crest pleaded no contest in Torance County
Magistrate Court to the charge of Causing a Nuisance Game Animal.
Schmiedeberg will be sentenced by Magistrate Judge Larry S. Jones.
Daniel P. Glass of Sandia Park also has been issued a citation for
causing a nuisance game animal. His case is awaiting disposition.
Both cases began with bear complaints reported to the Department of Game
Officers Chris Chadwick and Ross Morgan investigated the Schmiedeberg
case after a confidential informant reported he was feeding bears at his
residence in a heavily populated mobile home park. The park's managers
previously had notified residents that all hummingbird feeders, birdseed,
fallen fruit and trash must be removed from the park, Chadwick said.
"The notice also explained that anyone not in compliance could be cited
and fined for failing to comply," he said.
The conservation officers visited Schmiedeberg's home on Sept. 6. During
the visit he provided the officers with photographs of bears eating dog food
and birdseed at his residence. He told the officers the bear was eating dog
food intended for raccoons. Raccoons also are game animals and it is illegal
to feed them. When asked why he had failed to comply with the notice from
the mobile home park's managers, he told the officers that if his neighbors
had a problem with bears they "should move to Albuquerque."
Glass initiated the inquiry into his case by calling the Department to
lodge a complaint on Aug. 19 about bears eating at his bird feeders. Officer
Morgan advised Glass to remove the birdseed and sugar water intended for
hummingbirds, but an inspection of the property on Sept. 2 found the
attractants remained available. Glass had called Officer Morgan on Sept. 2
and threatened to shoot any bear he felt was a threat to his safety.
Wild animals, particularly black bears, can become quite dangerous when
they start to regard humans as a food source. Since 2000, the Department of
Game and Fish has vigorously tried to educate people about the dangers of
allowing bears to become habituated to human food or garbage. Posters are
placed in campgrounds; bear awareness brochures are distributed to
residents, property managers and restaurants in mountain communities; and
bear awareness spots have been broadcast on cable and network television
These efforts began even before a black bear killed and partially
consumed an elderly woman near the town of Mora in 2001. Bear attacks on
humans have occurred in Colorado and Utah this year.
Despite those education programs, some individuals don't make the
connection between providing food to wild animals and the potential for
either bears or humans to be injured or killed.
"The real tragedy is the actions of these bear-feeders only makes it
harder on the bears and the residents who follow the rules," said Chris
Chadwick, District Wildlife Supervisor for the Department of Game and Fish
in Albuquerque. "A bear that becomes a nuisance in one back yard or
community can hurt, or even kill, someone who lives 20 or more miles away.
"We try to give bears that frequent a residence a second and even a third
chance," Chadwick said, "but if we catch them three times we normally have
to put them down. It's not fair to the bears when people feed them like
this, and that's the reason we felt it was important to write these
citations. Hopefully, the word will get out and we won't have to write any
The Department of Game and Fish offers several brochures about bears:
"Black Bears of New Mexico," "Keeping Bears Alive - And You Safe," and
"Living with Large Predators." To request copies, call the Department of
Game and Fish office closest to you: Albuquerque, 841-8881; Santa Fe,
476-8000; Raton, 445-2311; Roswell, 624-6135, or Las Cruces, 522-9796.
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