|Oregon Coast Notes|
|Black Bears on the Oregon Coast|
|Oregon Coast Notes - News|
Black bears are very active in the mid summer months because they are entering the breeding season. Bears can be seen moving around near feeding areas in late evening. In mid day bears will be inactive or in heavy cover where viewing them will be difficult. Most bears are feeding heavily on grass and the growing tips of brush. Good places to see bears are in clear cuts that are a few years old where brush and grass is well established and in natural forest clearings like land slide areas.
Yearling bears are becoming independent at this time of year. They can often be seen walking down forest roads or out in clear cuts as they try to establish territories. Many of these bears are small—much less that 100 lbs. in size. Some people think they are orphaned cubs but in reality they are not. These bears can be relatively easy to find if you watch clear cuts during twilight hours.
They are also wandering into coastal communities looking for food.
According to ODFW District Wildlife Biologist Stuart Love, the Charleston Field Office has seen an increase in reports of bear sightings in coastal cities, including Reedsport, Coos Bay, Bandon and others.
According to Love the bears are growing increasingly desperate for food as winter approaches, so they're looking for it anywhere they can, including garbage cans, bird feeders and pet food.
"When a bear comes into town to try to get food, if it's not successful, doesn't get into garbage cans, nobody feeds it, that type of thing, the bear will move on, it won't come back to town. But if they're successful, then they start coming back."
Love says homeowners need to take the attraction away from bears, putting pet food indoors and bird feeders out of reach.
He says most bears won't pose a threat until they get comfortable.
Residents have reported seeing bears, shooting bears and hitting bears with their cars all along Oregon's central coast and inland toward Eugene, said Doug Cottam with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Newport, Ore.
"I had been personally expecting a year that was probably worse than last year," Cottam said. "There were a lot of cubs born last year. I literally had many reports of sows with triplets. All those cubs are now yearlings, and it's time for them to be weened from their mother."
Cottam called these yearlings "the classic nuisance bear."
"Most of those youngsters, on their own for the first, typically are the number one call we get," he said.
Older bears are the "kings of the forest" and force young bears out of their territory - and some of those bears show up in towns like Mapleton and Walton.
When the bears grow up near an urban area, you get the problem Florence faces, Cottam said: urban residential bears that are completely accustomed to living with people. Cubs are "human-habituated" when they become young adults and strike off on their own.
"We have lots of phone calls from the Florence area, several from Yachats, several along Highway 34," he said. He is also aware of at least four bears hit by cars along Highway 126 between Eugene and the Coast.
"The whole middle of the Oregon Coast inward toward Eugene seems to have a lot of problems right now," he said.
About Black Bears
Oregon is home to about 25,000 to 30,000 black bears, North America's most common bear species. Generally black in color, they can also be brown, cinnamon or blond. Fast and agile, they are good swimmers and climbers who prefer forests, trails and streams.
At home throughout Oregon, black bears are omnivorous and have a diverse diet including berries, fruit, grasses and plants. Although they will consume small mammals, insects and amphibians, these bears are not usually active predators.
Bears should never be allowed access to human food or garbage; it habituates them to people and increases the chance of conflict. Once habituated to finding food near homes or campgrounds, bears can become a threat to human safety and must often be destroyed.
Is it a black bear or a grizzly bear?
Oregon is black bear country. Although native to the area, there are no longer grizzly bears in the state. The last grizzly bear recorded was killed in the late 1930s at Billy Meadows, north of Enterprise in Wallowa County. However, because black bears are often brown, people sometimes wonder what species of bear they have seen. Here is some information on bear identification.
Around the house
Bear proofing your yard and neighborhood can help avoid potentially dangerous bear encounters and keep Oregon's bears safe and where they belong – in the wild.
Most problems are caused by people feeding bears, either actively or inadvertently. Once habituated to finding food near homes, bears can become a threat to human safety and must often be euthanized.
Follow these guidelines to protect both humans and bears.
Camper, Hiker, Angler, Hunter Guidelines
Angler, Hunter Guidelines
Fishing or hunting in bear country, brings some additional challenges, so take extra caution.
Be safe while fishing
Enjoying the natural beauty of the Oregon Coast brings with it some responsibilities. Co-existing with our bear population is one of them.
Enjoy everything we have to offer and BE SAFE!