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John Day area residents urged to take steps to avoid bear problems

August 8, 2016

JOHN DAY, Ore.—Wildlife managers urge residents in the John Day area to take steps to avoid bear conflicts this fall. Secure garbage and food waste, clean up fallen fruit around trees and don’t leave pet food outside.

ODFW expects there could be an increase in bear problems this fall in the wake of the Canyon Creek Fire which burned 110,00 acres last year. Burned areas will produce fewer berries, grasses and other natural food sources which will increase the temptation for bears to eat inappropriate food sources.

“Bears spend fall feeding on berries, grasses and other food sources in order to build up fat stores for winter hibernation,” said Ryan Torland, ODFW district wildlife biologist for Grant County. “There are likely to be fewer berries and other foods available this year due to the fire, but it’s important bears don’t start raiding garbage cans or fruit trees in residential areas as that habituates them to this food source.”

“We’d appreciate residents taking steps to avoid any conflicts with bears,” he added. “We have already seen a few conflicts this spring and hope to avoid more.”

The fire could have short term impacts on the local bear population, as fewer cubs may be born next year or bears could leave the area. But the overall bear population is doing well and should recover.

For more tips on living with bears, visit




Michelle Dennehy
Oregon Fish and Wildlife
(503) 947-6022

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