Category Archives: Headlines

Columbia Sturgeon, Springer Meetings Set


Fishery managers will seek public comments on issues affecting future fisheries for Columbia River white sturgeon and spring chinook salmon at meetings scheduled next month in Vancouver, Wash., and Astoria, Ore.

The two meetings, sponsored by the fish and wildlife departments in both states, are designed to share information on developments that will affect management of those fisheries starting next year.

The meetings are scheduled at the following times and locations:

* Vancouver:  6-9 p.m. Nov. 5, Water Resource Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way, sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
* Astoria:  6-9 p.m. Nov. 10, The Loft at the Red Building, 20 Basin St., Suite F, sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).

WDFW and ODFW scheduled the public meetings as part of their joint efforts to develop plans for white sturgeon and spring chinook fisheries.  Final decisions, including catch guidelines for sport and commercial fisheries, are expected early next year.

“One of the key reasons for having these meetings is so the staff working on these issues can hear from the public,” said Steve Williams, ODFW administrator for the Columbia River and Marine Resources Program.

Fishery managers for both states say new catch guidelines for sturgeon will likely reflect recent declines in the lower Columbia River sturgeon population.  For spring chinook fisheries, new catch guidelines must account for a recent agreement to allow enough fish to pass upriver to meet treaty obligations established by the U.S. v. Oregon court decision.

“We have met with our Columbia River advisory groups about these issues, and we’d like to get additional input from the public,” said Cindy LeFleur, WDFW Columbia River policy coordinator.

Clams To Be Dug Nov. 4-7


Clam diggers got the go-ahead to proceed with the second razor-clam dig of the fall season starting Wednesday, Nov. 4, on evening tides at two ocean beaches.

Twin Harbors will open for four late-evening digs Nov. 4-7, while Long Beach will open on Nov. 4, 6 and 7 only. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the digs after a series of marine toxin tests confirmed the clams were safe to eat.

Digging at the beaches will be restricted to the hours between noon and midnight. Additional digging opportunities are planned at five ocean beaches in mid-November.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said the department was able to offer the early November digs at Long Beach and Twin Harbors due to the abundant razor clam populations on those beaches.

“With more clams available for harvest south of Grays Harbor, we can offer these digging opportunities in addition to the ones that will include all beaches coming up later this month,” Ayres said.

The best time to start digging is an hour or two before low tide, said Ayres, who also recommends that clam diggers take lights or lanterns and check weather and surf conditions before heading out.

Harvesters are allowed to take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

A license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2009 annual shellfish/seaweed license or combination fishing license is still valid. Another option is a razor-clam only license available in annual or three-day only versions. Descriptions of the various options are available on the WDFW website at

Opening dates and evening low tides are:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 4 (7:33 p.m. -1.3 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Thursday, Nov. 5 (8:18 p.m. -1.2 ft.) Twin Harbors
  • Friday, Nov. 6 (9:07 p.m. -0.9 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Saturday, Nov. 7 (9:59 p.m. -0.5 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors

In addition, WDFW has tentatively scheduled three other digs through Jan. 3.

Dates scheduled in mid-November are:

  • Saturday, Nov. 14 (4:34 p.m. -0.3 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Sunday, Nov. 15 (5:21 p.m. -0.7 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Monday, Nov. 16 (6:05 p.m. -0.9 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Tuesday, Nov. 17 (6:47 p.m. -0.8 ft.) Twin Harbors

Dates scheduled Dec. 2 through Jan. 3 are:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 2 (6:32 p.m. -1.2 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Thursday, Dec. 3 (7:18 p.m. -1.4 ft.) Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Friday, Dec. 4 (8:04 p.m. -1.3 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Saturday, Dec. 5 (8:51 p.m. -0.9 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Thursday, Dec. 31 (6:16 p.m. -1.1 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Friday, Jan. 1 (7:01 p.m. -1.8 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Saturday, Jan. 2 (7:45 p.m. -1.6 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Sunday, Jan. 3 (8:29 p.m. -1.2 ft.) Twin Harbors

Beaches scheduled to open are:

  • Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
  • Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.

28 Oregon Lakes Stocked Recently


While trout fishing will be closing in most rivers and streams in Oregon on Oct. 31, trout fishing in many lakes and reservoirs throughout the state will be heating up thanks to a supplemental fall stocking program  by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Rainbow trout
The additional larger and trophy-sized trout ODFW has recently stocked in several lakes and reservoirs should offer anglers good fishing through the fall.
Photo by Jessica Sall – ODFW

The agency has been able to supplement its regular stocking program with several thousand larger and trophy-sized trout thanks to a special appropriation from the Oregon legislature. The legislation provided $400,000 for ODFW to purchase additional trout from private hatcheries in order to enhance fishing opportunities throughout the state.

“These fish stocked in October should provide the trout angler with some great fishing well into winter,” said Rhine Messmer, ODFW recreational fishing program manager. “Fall is a time of year when fish are feeding heavily in order to bulk up for the lean winter months, so fishing should be excellent as long as water temperatures don’t get too cool and the weather cooperates.”

This supplemental stocking will resume next spring and will continue through 2011.

The lakes and reservoirs that have been stocked this fall are (by zone):

SW Zone – stocked the week of Oct. 19

  • Hyatt Lake
  • Lake Selmac
  • Expo Pond
  • Reinhart Pond
  • Applegate Reservoir
  • Agate Lake
  • Garrison Lake
  • Butterfield Lake
  • Upper and Lower Empire Lakes

NE Zone – stocked the week of Oct. 12

  • Willow Creek Reservoir
  • Holliday Park
  • Bull Prairie

Willamette Zone

  • Walling Pond
  • Walter Wirth Pond
  • Waverly lake
  • Junction City Pond
  • Dorena Lake
  • Canby Pond
  • St. Louis Ponds
  • Hagg Lake
  • Sheridan Pond
  • Huddleston Pond

Central Zone – stocked the week of Oct. 26

  • Three Creeks Lake
  • North Twin Lake
  • Ochoco Reservoir
  • Haystack Reservoir
  • Shevlen Pond

Methow Buck Take, Age Up

Maybe it was the late start to season and late second weekend, or maybe there’s a storm a’coming to the Methow Valley, but hunters experienced “greatly improved success rates” during the nine-day rifle hunt for muleys that wrapped up Sunday.

“Check station data from both weekends of the season indicated nearly identical hunter pressure compared to last year,” WDFW biologist Scott Fitkin said in today’s Weekender. “But the success rate improved by 88 percent over what we observed last year, despite the issuance of fewer antlerless permits.”

“Later season dates and cooler, wetter weather likely improved the success rate. The average age of harvested bucks was the highest in years, and the body condition of harvested animals appeared to be consistently excellent,” he says.

Washington Deer, Fowl Hunting Report, Elk Prospects

Enough about how me and my partners did at deer camp, here’s how other Washington hunters have been faring — and the outlook for the late-October rifle elk opener on both sides of the hills, courtesy of WDFW’s Weekender:

Wet and windy weather has made for good waterfowl hunting early in the season, said Don Kraege, WDFW waterfowl manager. “Hunters did well during the first couple weeks of the season because the weather distributed the birds throughout the area,” he said. “There’s more blustery weather in the forecast, and that should continue to improve hunting prospects on both sides of the Cascades.”

More and more snow geese and dabbling ducks continue to arrive in the area, Kraege said. “It’s still early in the migration, but the numbers of birds should continue to increase as we head into November,” he said.

Goose hunts are open through Oct. 29 in the region, and then start again Nov. 7. However, snow, Ross and blue geese seasons in Goose Management Area 1 (Skagit and Snohomish counties) will run from Oct. 17 through Jan. 31 without a break. The duck hunting season also is open through Jan. 31.

Kraege reminds hunters who want to participate in the Snow Goose Quality Hunt program on Fir Island and in the northern Port Susan Bay area that they must have written authorization to hunt for snow geese in Goose Management Area 1 and written authorization to hunt the quality hunt units. Hunters also must possess a Washington small game hunting license and a state migratory bird validation, as well as a federal migratory bird stamp.

For more information on how to participate in the quality hunt program, which is a cooperative project with several local landowners and residents, visit WDFW’s website at .

Upland bird hunters have until the end of November to bag pheasant. Pheasant hunters should note that the department will release pheasants this fall at the Skagit Wildlife Area’s Samish Unit rather than the Headquarters Unit, where a substantial portion of land is no longer suitable for pheasant hunting. WDFW is temporarily moving its pheasant release program to the Samish Unit because an estuary restoration project has returned portions of recreational land on the Headquarters Unit to intertidal habitat for fish and wildlife. Pheasants will be released several days a week on the Samish Unit through Nov. 7.

The early modern firearm season for deer runs through Oct. 31.

“The Williams Creek area south of Raymond is our best elk area,” said Greg Schirato, WDFW regional wildlife manager. “Another good area to look for elk is the North River unit south of Aberdeen.”

The late-buck, black-tailed deer hunting season starts with a modern firearm hunt that runs Nov. 19-22 in western Washington. Following that four-day hunt, archers and muzzleloaders will take to the field Nov. 25 for the late deer and elk season, (Nov. 26 for late-muzzleloader deer season).

The statewide season for ducks, coots and snipe resumed Oct. 24 while goose-hunting reopens Nov. 7 in Management Area 3. Goose management area 2B (Pacific County), under way since Oct. 17, is open Saturdays and Wednesdays only.

Hunters may also pursue pheasant, quail and bobwhite through Nov. 30. An extended pheasant-hunting season runs Dec. 1-15 at Skookumchuck, Fort Lewis, Kosmos, Scatter Creek, Belfair, Whidbey Island (except Bayview) and Lincoln Creek release sites. The statewide forest grouse hunting season continues through Dec. 31.

David Anderson, WDFW wildlife biologist, noted that elk hunters in southwest Washington generally have one of the highest success rates in the state.
“Conditions are looking pretty good this year,” Anderson said. “We didn’t have a severe winter and the recent snowfall is helping to move elk down from the higher elevations.”

Joey McCanna, WDFW upland game bird specialist, said field checks of pheasant hunters over the season opening weekend in Whitman County – from Penawawa Canyon on the Snake River boundary on the south end to the Revere Wildlife Area on the northwest end – indicate that a total of 63 hunters had bagged 43 young-of-the-year pheasants and 13 adult pheasants, for an average of just under one bird per hunter. “In areas with good cover, hunters were getting several shots at birds,” McCanna said.

The best areas to hunt pheasants are usually along river and stream drainages, from Rock and Union Flat Creek and the Palouse River to the Snake, Touchet, Walla Walla, and Tucannon rivers. Agricultural areas with good habitat conditions – brushy hillsides and draws – are prime, but of course hunters need to seek permission to access private land. Acreage enrolled in WDFW’s “Feel Free to Hunt” and “Register to Hunt” programs can be a good bet, and hunters need to scout out those program signs in the field. McCanna notes that more than 22,000 acres in the south end of the region were recently posted “Feel Free to Hunt.”

Game-farm-raised rooster pheasants have also been released on the Sherman Creek Wildlife Area in Ferry County, the Fishtrap Lake site on the Lincoln-Spokane county line, and several other release sites in the south end of the region. Details are posted on the WDFW website at .

The modern firearm elk season runs Oct. 31 through Nov. 8 in several units throughout the region. The southeast district is traditionally the best, with the greatest numbers in the Blue Mountains, but only spike bulls can be harvested.

“Calf survival has improved in recent years, but is still 15 percent below optimum levels, which does have a negative impact on the number of spike bulls available for harvest,” WDFW Biologist Pat Fowler said. “The Wenaha sub-herd (GMU-169) still remains below historic population levels, which hurts overall hunting opportunity in the Blue Mountains. But hunters can expect prospects to be similar to previous years.”

WDFW Wooten Wildlife Area Manager Kari Dingman said elk hunters should come prepared because there is snow in the upper elevations of the Blue Mountains.

Central district units 124-142 are open for any elk, bull or cow, but private land access must be secured for most hunting. WDFW district wildlife biologists Howard Ferguson and Mike Atamian recently helicopter-surveyed elk in and around Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in the Cheney (130) unit and counted a total of 260 elk – 35 bulls, 146 cows, and 79 calves. That total was down compared to previous years of the same aerial survey, but they also saw a herd of about 100 elk just outside the survey area. Including those animals would bring the count above the yearly average of 316. The biologists are currently attempting a ground count and composition of the herd.

Ferguson reminds hunters the refuge is not open to elk hunting this year, but might be by next fall. For now, private property access permission must be obtained.

WDFW biologist Dana Base says elk are fewer and farther between in the northeast district, but the population does not appear to have been as heavily impacted by the last two winters as white-tailed deer. “Finding elk is the biggest challenge here,” he said. “There’s so much closed canopy forest where they can effectively hide and ‘sit out’ the season.”

Base said that the modern firearm hunting season for white-tailed deer continues through Oct. 30 in units 101-124. Checks of deer hunters just north of Deer Park off Hwy. 395 indicate an average number of hunters and good harvest rates, compared to past years. On Oct. 25, 138 hunters were checked with 15 deer for an 11 percent success rate. Last year on the same weekend, 136 hunters had seven deer for a 5 percent success rate. Late white-tailed deer hunts in units 105-124 will run Nov. 7-19.

WDFW waterfowl specialist Mikal Moore reports that the waterfowl hunting season opener in the Columbia Basin had mixed success.

“Before the cold weather moves in and ducks start to focus on field feeding, hunters should concentrate on shallow water ponds with abundant seeds,” he said.

Good bets include Gloyd Seeps Wildlife Area off Road 16 and Stratford Road, the Winchester and Frenchman Regulated Access Areas, small potholes associated with the North Potholes Wildlife Area, the Columbia Basin National Wildlife Refuge’s Marsh Unit 1, and Baile Memorial Youth Ranch and Windmill Ranch Regulated Access Areas near the town of Mesa, Moore said.

Moore said goose hunters will find thousands of small Canada geese staging in the Stratford Area, feeding on nearby wheat fields. “The birds are taking off to feed at first light and returning to Stratford Reserve around 10:30 a.m.” she said. “Mixed in with the Canada geese are a few hundred lesser snow geese and the occasional tundra swan.”

WDFW Columbia Basin district wildlife biologist Rich Finger predicts goose hunting will ramp up in November when early season migrant Canada geese (Lesser and Taverners) begin to scatter from their initial staging area at Stratford Lake to alfalfa or grain fields within feeding distance from Moses Lake and the Columbia River.

Finger reminds waterfowlers of lands enrolled in the Corn Stubble Retention Program for public hunting. Fields are typically identified and enrolled during November and locations vary by year. Call or visit the Ephrata regional office for details.

Deer hunting ended Oct. 25 in the region. WDFW Okanogan district wildlife biologist Scott Fitkin reports greatly improved success rates measured at the traditional Chewuch deer hunter check stations in the Methow Valley.

“Check station data from both weekends of the season indicated nearly identical hunter pressure compared to last year,” Fitkin said. “But the success rate improved by 88 percent over what we observed last year, despite the issuance of fewer antlerless permits. Later season dates and cooler, wetter weather likely improved the success rate. The average age of harvested bucks was the highest in years, and the body condition of harvested animals appeared to be consistently excellent.”

No reports in yet on how pheasant hunters are faring since the season opened Oct. 24. Hunters who want to take advantage of game-farm-raised rooster releases should see for site details

Mikal Moore, WDFW waterfowl specialist, reports the Yakima Basin is providing excellent duck hunting since the season opener Oct. 17.

Jeff Bernatowicz, WDFW district wildlife biologist, reminds pheasant hunters, whose season opened Oct. 24, that the Millerguard release site for game-farm-raised rooster release has moved to the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area. “Target shooting became a safety problem at Millerguard,” he explained. The new Whiskey Dick pheasant release site is located near Whiskey Dick Mountain, with best access from the Interstate 90 exit 115. Go north 1.2 miles through Kittitas until Patrick Ave., turn right on Patrick for 0.2 mile, left on No. 81 Road, one mile to Vantage Hwy., right on for 6.6 miles to an unmarked gravel road entrance.

The modern firearm elk season opens Oct. 31 and Bernatowicz reminds hunters that game management units (GMU) 328 (Naneum), 329 (Quilomene), 334 (Ellensburg), and 335 (Teanaway) have been changed to a “true spike bull” regulation.

A true spike bull is one with both antlers without branching originating more than four inches above where the antlers attack to the skull.

“The change was made because most of the yearling bulls were being harvested during the general elk season,” he said. “The low recruitment has left the Colockum herd well below bull escapement objectives.”

Bernatowicz also notes an error in the hunting rules pamphlet – GMU 330 (West Bar) is not open to general season elk hunting.

As for prospects, Bernatowicz expects bull harvest to be down. “Our elk calf ratio data collected in February and March was consistently low across the range,” he said. “In the Colockum herd, with a total of 4,000 elk, we have 20 calves per 100 cows and just five bulls per 100 cows. In the Yakima herd, with a total of 9,200 elk, we have 30 calves per 100 cows and 17 bulls per 100 cows. Since calves surveyed in March are spike bulls in the fall, chances of taking one this season are down.”

Michael Livingston, WDFW biologist, says elk hunting in the southeast district is limited to lands surrounding the west and south boundaries of the Hanford Reach National Monument (GMU 372).

“Hunts are geared toward addressing crop damage on surrounding wheat farms, vineyards and orchards,” he said. “Access is extremely limited to either a couple pieces of state land north of Prosser and Benton City and private land through special permit drawings.” Livingston said the best way to secure access is to apply for a special permit through the Landowner Hunt Program. If selected, permit holders are guaranteed a one-day guided hunt.

Most permits are limited to antlerless opportunity for youth hunters, but a few if any elk permits are issued each year. Surveys in January 2009 yielded a total herd estimate of 639 elk with 49 bulls and 15 calves per 100 cows. The high bull ratio is typical for this herd since they can seek refuge on the federal Hanford lands during hunting season. The calf count was below average and was likely a result of the stress the cows experienced from a wildfire that burned in August 2007.

Barthlow’s Coho Spinner-Prawn Rig

UPDATED WITH FRESH FISHING REPORT BELOW: A fishing report earlier this week stated that anglers were dragging spinner-prawn rigs around the Klickitat mouth for coho.

I went, “Wait — for coho?!?”

Forgive me, in my neck of the woods, coho bait is eggs.

I had to get to the bottom of this, so I phoned guide Bob Barthlow (509-952-9694).

“Everything eats shrimp in the ocean,” he points out.

The Yakima Bait and Worden’s Lures pro-staffer says he’s been using this homemade spring Chinook/steelhead rig for silvers more and more the last four or five years, primarily at the mouth of the Wind River, Drano Lake and on the Chehalis River.

The elements include:

* 5- to 6-foot 20-pound Gamma fluorocarbon leader

* Quick-change clevis

* Size 4, 41/2 or 5 Bob Toman blade

* Six or seven 3- to 6mm beads

* 3/0 hook



The key, Barthlow says, is to troll it slow – no more than 1 mph – and deep.

“The more we use it, the better it works,” Barthlow says. “Everywhere I’ve tried this it works”

He typically starts the day trolling plugs, but with five rodholders, he’ll also put out a prawn and see what the fish prefer.



It’s worked for fall brights as well, he says.

FRESH FISHING REPORT, THURSDAY, 8:30 A.M: “Bank and boat anglers inside the Klickitat as well as boat anglers outside the mouth averaged nearly two adult coho per rod yesterday!” reports Joe Hymer at PSFMC.

He says that’s based on creel checks.

Meeting Thursday Night On Cowlitz Hatcheries

According to an article in the Centralia Chronicle, WDFW and Tacoma Power will outline their plans on reducing hatchery production in the Cowlitz River at a meeting this Thursday.

How much of a drop that entails isn’t stated in the story, but it reportedly will be revealed during the 6-8 p.m. get-together planned for Room 103 of Washington Hall, Centralia College, 600 Centralia College Blvd.

“The work we’re doing is a tangible outcome of our commitment to natural stock production with plans for continued hatchery production,” Mark LaRivierre of Tacoma Power tells reporter Eric Schwartz.


What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

Here are some of the highlights from ODFW’s latest Recreation Report:


  • Anglers are reminded that trout seasons end Oct. 31 in many locations. Please check the regulations carefully before venturing out to trout fishing waters to make sure your area is open.
  • Large numbers of coho continue to move into the Sandy River, where a 3-fish coho bag limit remains in effect.
  • A large number of coho has moved into Eagle Creek following the recent rains.
  • Several valley lakes, ponds and reservoirs have recently been stocked with legal-sized or larger trout. Check the reports below to find some great nearby fishing.


  • Steelhead fishing is picking up on the middle section of the Rogue River with some boats reporting up to eight fish caught in a day.
  • Wild coho fishing has been excellent on the Coquille River with the best fishing between Bandon and Rocky Point boat ramp.
  • Recent creels on the Elk River have shown ½ chinook caught per angler – and fishing is expected to get better.
  • Trout anglers can enjoy excellent fall fishing in several lakes and reservoirs in the Rogue District.  Lost Creek Reservoir, Lake Selmac, Expo Pond, Reinhart Park Pond, Applegate Reservoir, Agate Lake, and Fish Lake have recently been stocked with large and trophy-sized trout. Fishing should be good throughout the fall


  • Tillamook Bay: A few chinook are being caught, with fish available throughout the bay and tidewater areas. Casting or trolling spinners in the west channel or upper bay or tidewater areas has produced the best for hatchery coho. Rains have moved hatchery coho up the Trask. A few chinook are being caught on spinners in the upper bay or by trolling herring in the lower bay or nearshore ocean. A few better bites were reported recently, but angling overall remains only fair. Angling for sturgeon has been slow, but sturgeon are present in the bay and upper tidewater of the Tillamook River. Fishing the upper bay and river tidewaters will help anglers avoid crab and other bait stealers. Crabbing in the lower bay has been good.


  • Holliday Park Pond, Bull Prairie Reservoir and Willow Creek Reservoir have been stocked with good-sized trout and should provide some fine fall angling.
  • With the recent rains, steelhead are moving into the John Day River and fishing is good up to the Cottonwood Bridge.
  • Steelhead fishing has been improving on the lower Grande Ronde and Imnaha rivers.


  • Bottom fishing is good when ocean conditions permit.
  • Recreational and commercial clam harvesting is open on the entire Oregon Coast, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border. This includes clam harvesting on beaches and inside bays.
  • The entire Oregon Coast is now closed to mussel harvesting, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border.
  • Crabbers in Coos Bay brought in an average of 10 crabs. Other ports report catches between four and five.


  • Several area lakes close to fishing after Saturday, Oct. 31. Be sure check the regulations or reports below before heading out.
  • With the advent of cooler temperatures, trout fishing on David Lake should pick up. (While largemouth bass fishing may slow down.)
  • Several area lakes close to fishing after Saturday, Oct. 31. Be sure check the regulations or reports below before heading out.
  • With the advent of cooler temperatures, trout fishing on David Lake should pick up. (While largemouth bass fishing may slow down.)

Medford Black Bear Shot After 80-mile Return

A troublesome black bear, captured near an elementary school in Medford, Ore., and transported nearly 80 air miles east-northeast of town, returned to town within 10 days but was shot by a hunter last weekend, ODFW reports.



Biologists planned to release the bear near Hyatt Lake but took it further east to the Interstate Unit near the Fremont National Forest to avoid hunters during the Cascade elk season and to move it a significant distance from the school. It was marked with an ear tag before being released.

“Our guidelines allow biologists to use their discretion in dealing with bears like this one found inside the Medford city limits,” said Russ Stauff, Acting Regional Manager. “Although it’s unusual for us to relocate bears, we felt this yearling bear had inadvertently wandered into town and was not displaying aggressive behavior so we chose to relocate it.”

“However, the bear obviously wanted to get back to town and food sources that are easier to find. It appeared to be headed back toward town when it was taken by a hunter less than two miles outside city limits near Hillcrest Road,” Stauff said.

ODFW euthanizes bears accustomed to humans or human foods because they will typically return to that site if relocated or become a problem in another area. Bears displaying aggressive behavior or exhibiting little or no fear of people also are euthanized for human safety reasons. Bears, such as the one found at Lone Pine Elementary that are relocated, are euthanized if they return to the area.

People can discourage bears from their property by eliminating food sources such as garbage and pet food and fencing off fruit trees. For more information on living with black bears, check the agency’s Web site at