Fish and wildlife officials warn against household attractions for bears

As it nears the time of year when bears begin to show up, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reminds citizens how to avoid contact with them.

Last week, fish and wildlife officials sent a press release to people in the Sandy area alerting them to local sightings of black bears and how such incidents should be handled and, more importantly, avoided.

Rick Hargrave, fish and wildlife’s deputy administrator of the information and education division, said there have been three calls along Bluff Road and Serban Road related to citizen sightings of CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE - Black bears come in shades of brown as well.

Primarily, these bears are showing up and venturing through yards in search of food.

“It’s not unusual,” Hargrave said.

He said homeowners sometimes leave the lids off trashcans or leave bags of birdseed out. Birdseed is especially enticing to these unwanted visitors, Hargrave said. “Bears love that.

“What we don’t want to happen is bears returning to the scene of the crime, so to speak,” Hargrave said.

Once bears find a human-provided source of food, they can habitually return to one place to get it, and if they return to find the source is no longer there, that’s when problems start, Hargrave said. If the bears no longer have access to a habitual food source, they tend to get aggressive and start trying to break into structures. by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE - Homeowners should secure garbage cans in a garage or shed, or purchase bear-proof cans to avoid bears habituating to an area.

“After that it can lead to the point where we have to remove the bears,” Hargrave said. “It usually ends with shooting them.”

He said bears can’t typically be moved to another location — they’ll just end up returning.

Every year, the fish and wildlife department takes steps to educate and give people tips on to how to handle bears in the area. Its website,, offers information to homeowners, hikers and hunters on how best to avoid conflict with bears and what to do if you run into one.

Visit for some tips on keep away from bears and them away from returning to your house.

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