Nevada Department of Wildlife officials say they decided to establish the hot line after dealing with a record number of bear complaints last year in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area. In 2007, department personnel handled 1,500 bear complaints compared with 350 the previous year. .
The hot line is wired directly into the agency's dispatch center in Reno. Agency spokesman Chris Healy says it should be used with a couple of caveats.
"If you just see a bear acting like a bear out in the wild, that’s not news. If the bear is breaking into you home, that’s a 9-1-1 call. So everything in between, when there’s a bear in a place it shouldn’t be and it might be tipping over garbage cans or breaking into a garage, that’s when you need to use that bear hotline."
The number for the new hotline is: 688-BEAR, but Healy says many problems can be addressed by going to the agency’s web site at: N-D-O-W dot org for information about how to deal with bears.