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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 and Fish.
 

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 channels.
 

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 more."
 

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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