Hard Releases










An alternative to traditional relocations, (actually translocations), are hard releases, or on-site releases, whereby a captured nuisance bear is not hauled off and moved a distance away. Rather it is left onsite, and when released at the same location of its capture, is given a rather rude departure – with bear managers using rubber bullets, pyrotechnics, noisemakers and sometimes specially-trained Karelian Bear Dogs.

The hope is for the bear to then associate people with an unpleasant experience and that area with a place it doesn’t want to return to. This negative reinforcement technique is showing far better promise than traditional capture and move methods. Watch video of a hard release from the Nevada Department of Wildlife.



On-site release or hard release: Capture and release of a management bear in the same location or very near to site of capture, usually with intensive hazing associated with the release.  – TERMS USED IN HUMAN-BEAR CONFLICTS MANAGEMENT


“Hard release” is the program’s term for returning a wild animal to the wild, but giving the animal a definite dislike of humans and dogs. After officers sedate or trap an errant animal… and once it’s fully awake and aware, release it to a cacophony of barking KBDs, shouting humans, firecrackers, and the ignominy of a few stinging pellets as it exits from the scene. Current estimates are that 80% of the bear releasees avoid people afterwards. — 2013 Sammamish-Issaquah Patch article on Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Karelian Bear Dog Program



Photos courtesy: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife