Grizzly Bears Bound for Sportsmen's & Outdoor Recreation Show

Among the stars of this year's Sportsmen's & Outdoor Recreation Show on February 22-24 are Yogi, Lea, and Teddy — an Alaskan grizzly, a Kodiak brown bear and a black bear, respectively.

Posted: Feb. 20, 2019 3:04 PM
Updated: Feb. 20, 2019 3:49 PM

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Three bears will be a focal feature of this year's Sportsmen's & Outdoor Recreation Show at the Jackson County Expo — and unlike the bears of fable, these ones are very real.

8-year-old male Alaskan grizzly "Yogi," 2-year-old female Kodiak brown bear "Lea," and 1-year-old black bear "Teddy" together form A Grizzly Experience, under the watchful eyes of their trainers, Dexter and Megan Osborn.

Admission to the 19th annual NewsWatch 12 Sportsmen's & Outdoor Recreation Show

  • Adults: $8 ($6.00 with Bi-Mart $2.00 off coupon, good Friday & Sunday only)
  • Children 6-11: $1.00
  • Children 5 & Under: FREE
  • Seniors 65 and up admitted FREE on Friday from 5-9 PM, with the coupon from the Mail Tribune, courtesy of Seven Feathers Casino Resort.

ATM on site. Every paid adult patron can get Northwest Sportsman magazine FREE for 1 year!

“We’ll talk about bear safety, the biology and anatomy of bears, different species of bears,” said Dexter Osborn. “And we’ll give everybody a close-up look at the bears.”

The Osborns describe A Grizzly Experience as an educational bear exhibit. The bears and their trainers will make a few appearances each day, with the bears showing "many of their natural behaviors." Meanwhile, visitors will learn about bear safety, what people should do if they encounter a bear in the wild, the different bear species in North America, and how bears are trained to appear in movies.

“All of the training is done through positive reinforcement, mutual respect, mutual trust,” said Osborn. “You start them at a young age and develop a daily routine for them. They’re just like raising kids.”

The Osborns said that they have had the 7' tall, 600-pound Yogi since he was just an 8-month-old cub. He had been born in a Georgia facility that did not have the room to keep him. The couple got Lea at 9-months-old for a similar reason after the bear was born in captivity in Indiana.

At 32-years-old, Osborn has been training and working with animals since he began helping at a small zoo near his home in Florida at the age of 12. He has has worked with alligators, snakes, elephants and big cats — but he says that his favorite animal has always been the bear.

“Bears are extremely intelligent animals,” he said. “You learn something new with them every day."

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