OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- A bear captured in a snare set by wildlife officials pulled its paw out and likely injured itself when it escaped Monday morning.
The bear was reported in the snare near Oakridge High School at 5 a.m. By the time a trapper with the U.S. Department of Agriculture arrived at 6 a.m., the bear had escaped, according to Brian Wolfer, wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Wolfer said he spoke to the trapper on Monday. After repeated attempts to get the bear using a more traditional walk-in trailer trap, the trapper tried a foot snare.
Wolfer said the snare is a cable that tightens around the bear's leg. It is not the "snap trap" jagged jaw kind of trap. Wolfer said the bear likely managed to pull free.
"It's possible that's it's injured," Wolfer said. "It's possible that it's not injured."
Injured bears are known to be unpredictable. If you see the bear, stay away from it.
This particular bear is known to travel the ridge between Portal Drive and Rose Street.
Oakridge residents Susan and Terry Callahan live in the bear's known stomping grounds. They said they haven't seen this bear yet, but it's presence doesn't surprise them.
"Last year a bear come through," said Terry Callahan. "There was trash going all the way up into the woods but I never found the can."
Susan Callahan said she has yet to come face to face with a bear but would love to see one -- just from a safe distance.
"Get out of the way. He’s going to do what he’s going to do and we’re not going to stop him," said Susan Callahan.
If you see the bear, please contact the Oakridge Police Department at (541) 782-4232.
Wolfer said bear problems are reported in rural communities and the outskirts of town every year in Western Oregon.
"Every year, we have bears around houses and it's pretty predictable: there's something there that the bear is finding to eat," he said.
Homeowners should take care to remove or secure things that attract bears. Until more berries get ripe and the bears have an easy food source, bears are likely to seek out food near homes, Wolfer said.