ASHLAND, Ore. – Ashland residents say a bear, or bears, have been making themselves at home in their back yards, but despite that there have been fewer bear sightings than normal.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife calculates this is the fifth time a bear was reported in Jackson County in October, and the 53rd time this year.
Ashland Police say this particular bear was reported making its way through six neighborhoods Halloween night.
Doug Ham, who manages the Wingspread Mobile Home Park, says he actually saw that bear, or a similar one, on Wednesday.
“One of my neighbors said, ‘Doug, by the way, you have a bear in your back yard,’” said Ham. “So I looked and sure enough…”
Ham says the bear wasn’t behaving aggressively in any way, something experts say is usually the case.
“We’ve never had a bear attack anyone in Oregon,” said ODFW Wildlife Biologist Rosemary Stussy. “They’re not aggressive, they just want the food.”
When food is scarce, it isn’t unusual to see bears searching neighborhoods for fruit or trash out in the open. But according to Stussy it has been less common this year than in the past.
She says that isn’t necessarily because there are fewer bears, but more likely because people are following basic advice.
“Put your trash can in the garage. Take down your bird feeder when the bear comes, don’t leave your pet food out,” said Stussy.
Ashland police say the bear wasn’t harmed in this case. In fact, they just advised residents to leave it alone.