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Ashland residents: it's time to be BearWise

April 6, 2023

CENTRAL POINT, Ore – Spring weather in Ashland brings hungry bears searching city streets for an easy meal.

ODFW and the Ashland Police Department urge Ashland residents and visitors to be 'BearWise,' particularly in the neighborhoods southwest of Siskiyou Blvd. These neighborhoods border forested areas where bears spent the winter being dormant and now are beginning to stir.

Being BearWise means removing food sources that attract hungry bears such as bird feeders and pet or livestock food.

The City of Ashland typically experiences a high level of bear conflict yearly. Conflict peaks in spring when bears are refueling and in late fall when bears are fattening up for winter. ODFW received several nuisance bear complaints already this year despite the prolonged winter weather in the area.

In 2022, ODFW logged 161 complaints about bears inside city limits including aggressive actions, nuisance behaviors, and loss of wariness. Most of these resulted from access to garbage, bird seed, compost, and other types of food rewards.

"Prevention is key to keeping bears from being a human safety problem. Once bears find a taste for human and pet food sources – including garbage – they can quickly become habituated and a safety risk to people," said Chris Shelton, ODFW Rogue District assistant wildlife biologist,

Bears are often territorial and highly mobile, Shelton said. Because of this, ODFW does not relocate habituated bears due to the danger it presents the individual bear, other bears in the release area, or nearby residents or recreationists.

The best ways to keep bears and people safe is to prevent bears from getting food rewards in neighborhoods. To keep wild bears wild, we ask you and your neighbors to:

  • Never feed bears.
  • Put garbage cans out just before pick-up.
  • Recology Ashland offers bear-resistant cans, call 541-482-1471.
  • Keep pet food inside.
  • Remove bird feeders.
  • Keep BBQ grills clean or in garage.
  • Clean up fruit under fruit trees.

If you encounter a bear:

  • STOP: Never approach a bear at any time for any reason. If you see bear cubs, leave the area.
  • GIVE IT SPACE: Give any bear you encounter a way to escape.
  • STAY CALM: Do not run or make sudden movements. Face the bear and slowly back away.
  • AVOID EYE CONTACT: Don't make eye contact with the bear.
  • DON'T RUN: It may encourage the bear to chase you.
  • FIGHT BACK: In the unlikely event you are attacked, fight back, shout, be aggressive, use rocks, sticks and hands.

Report non-emergencybear activity in Ashland through the city's bear reporting website or by calling ODFW directly at 541-826-8774.

Dial 911 if there is an immediate threat to human health and safety.

For more information on living with bears, click here.

Photo: Learn to Be Bear Aware by following these tips from our partners at BearWise.

Photo: Ashland residents are asked to Be Bear Aware by cleaning up food sources that attract hungry bears.



Chris Shelton, ODFW, 541-826-8774
Ashland Police Department, 541-482-5211

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