ODFW and the Ashland Police Department have an annual message for Ashland residents and visitors: 'Be Bear Aware.'
Although recent weather has been cooler, bears are becoming more active and have begun leaving forested areas to search for food.
The City of Ashland typically experiences a high level of bear conflict yearly, usually peaking during spring when hungry bears look for an easy meal in city neighborhoods. So far this year, ODFW received four nuisance bear complaints.
In 2021, ODFW logged 62 complaints (down from 103 in 2020) about bears inside city limits including aggressive actions, nuisance behaviors, and loss of wariness. Most of these incidents resulted from access to garbage, bird seed, compost, and other types of food rewards.
ODFW wildlife biologists urge people to "Be Bear Aware" and do their part to avoid creating situations that are dangerous for people and bears. Black bears are wild animals that can behave unpredictably and may quickly become a human safety problem if habituated to human food.
The best ways to keep bears and people safe is to prevent bears from getting food rewards. To keep wild bears wild, we ask Ashland resident 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-emergency bear 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.