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Black bear killed in Rogue River canyon



September 15, 2008


ODFW: Mark Vargas (541) 826-8778
Forest Service: Patty Burel (541) 941-4268 (cell)
Fax: (541) 673-0372

ROSEBURG, Ore. – A black bear that was aggressively invading camping areas was killed Wednesday, Sept. 10 in the Tate Creek area of the Rogue River canyon by a USDA Wildlife Services agent.

“The bear matched descriptions given by many campers over the last month of two smaller-sized bears that were causing problems,” said Rogue Watershed Wildlife Biologist Mark Vargas. “The bear that was shot is estimated to be just over one year old and weighed 50 pounds.”

State and federal agencies are reminding recreationists in the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River to keep their campsites clean to discourage bears from becoming habituated to humans.

The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had received numerous reports from campers and other river users of bears raiding coolers and campsite picnic areas in Brushy Bar, Tacoma Campground and Tate Creek. The bears had lost fear of humans and did not run off when people threw rocks or yelled. Campers reported bears within 5 – 30 feet of tents and camping gear being destroyed. Some campers also reported tents being torn open and other gear destroyed, as well as displaying aggressive behavior including charging and growling.

“It’s so important to keep a clean campsite and store food in electric fence enclosures, bear-proof boxes and food hoists provided along the Rogue River,” Vargas said. “Unfortunately, this bear got used to humans whether through intentional feeding and friendly contact by campers or inadvertently attracting the bear with coolers left in rafts.”

Vargas said that because the bear was habituated to humans, agency policy prohibits it from being relocated to another area. “Relocating the animal doesn’t work because the problem would just be moved to another area,” he said.

Campers and rafters using this section of the Rogue River are well briefed by the Forest Service, BLM and ODFW regarding the potential negative encounters with bears. People are reminded to keep a clean campsite, be bear aware, and know what to do if encountering a bear.

More information on living with bears is on the ODFW website at

The mission of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is to protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. The agency consists of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, a commission-appointed director and a statewide staff of approximately 950 permanent employees. Headquartered in Salem, ODFW has regional offices in Clackamas, Roseburg, Bend, and La Grande with ten district offices located throughout the state. For additional information, please visit




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