REEDSPORT, Ore. - Police officers shot a bear July 22 after determining the animal was a threat to residents, one of four bear reports inside the city limits this month in this southern Oregon Coast town.
According to Reedsport Police Chief Mark Fandrey, officers were forced to shoot a bear on July 22 after it became a threat to residents in the area.
"Normally we don't get into a situation where the police have to shoot a bear, although it does happen," said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Stuart Love. "If we're not able to deal with a bear using non-lethal means, in other words, finding ways to make the bear leave the area that people live, generally we'll try and trap the bear."
Chief Fandrey said bears will only be shot by police officers if they are an immediate threat to people or property.
Black bears are becoming a common sight inside city limits for many places in Southern Oregon, including Reedsport. The city's police department has received four calls of bear sightings in July alone.
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According to Love, bear sightings within cities are not uncommon, but there's been more this year than in years past.
"I suspect the reason bears are around town this year is normally we get two berry crops," said Love. "This year salmon berries really did not come on at all and so bears are hungry, they didn't get that first crop of berries. The blackberries are coming on, they'll be on soon."
Love said bears mainly come out at night and are found around trash cans.
And he said as they get comfortable with their surroundings, bears can become more bold.
The ODFW hosts "Living in Bear Country" workshops to help homeowners keep bears away.
They also provide information at all of their field offices.