Investigators still looking for leads in black bear deaths in Talent

Crews climbed more than 40 feet to remove a dead bear. ODFW photo
December 18, 2022

Two bears illegally shot with bullets and arrows and left in trees

By Lee Juillerat for Ashland.news

The death of black bears whose bodies were found in trees in Talent earlier this year remains under investigation by Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The bodies were found by Jackson County firefighters on Oct. 29 after receiving a report of a black bear with an arrow its chest. The bear was seen in a tree off Anderson Creek Road near Talent. On arriving at the scene about 3 p.m., responders called Jackson County Fire District 5 to assist in removing a 275-pound female bear from the tree.

A ladder truck was used to remove a bear. ODFW photo

Fire crews used a ladder truck to reach the bear, which was 40 to 50 feet up in a pine tree. After determining the bear was dead, firefighters spent about five minutes dislodging the carcass by using a roof hook and shaking the tree.

Investigators from the OSP and ODFW Wildlife determined that poachers had shot the bear multiple times with both a firearm and a bow and arrow, then left it to die. The decomposed carcass of another bear was found in a nearby tree by investigators. Troopers did not remove the second bear because it was badly decomposed and had been scavenged.

Investigators found two bullets lodged in the female bear, along with an arrow protruding from her chest. OSP Sergeant Jim Collom said the discoveries shocked firefighters even though they have helped remove both live animals and carcasses from ponds, mud pits and other difficult-to-reach places.

Dave Meads, a captain with Jackson County Fire District No. 5, who was part of the bear removal team, also expressed shock at the discovery. “In my career I have not seen anything like this,” he said. “When we were called out, it wasn’t clear it was poaching. I’m an avid outdoorsman, and it’s important that people follow the rules ODFW sets to keep the opportunities. When certain people choose not to follow those rules, it affects everyone.”

Senior Trooper Josh Neville with a dead female bear found with arrow in its chest and multiple gunshot wounds. ODFW photo

Derek Broman, ODFW carnivore coordinator, said his agency invests time and resources into bear conservation and management because, “People in Oregon care about bears. Waste of an animal means a lot to Oregonians. This is unacceptable criminal activity that wastes people’s resources, time and energy.”

Broman termed Oregon’s bear population as robust with an estimated 34,000 bears across the state. Regarding the death of the two bears in Talent, he surmised, “This is probably not a case of people simply having problems with bears, but a case of senseless killing. For someone to do something like this, it’s insulting to all the hard work put into researching and managing bears in Oregon.”

Anyone with information on the bear deaths is asked to contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 800-452-7888, or email at TIP@osp.oregon.gov. Reference case number SP22291483.

Email freelance writer Lee Juillerat at 337lee337@charter.net.

Stop Poaching Campaign

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sponsors a Stop Poaching Campaign that educates people on how to recognize and report poaching. The campaign is a collaboration among state agencies, sportsmen and other conservationists, landowners, and recreationists to engage the public in combating Oregon’s poaching problem.

According to coordinator Yvonne Shaw, “Our goal is to: Incentivize reporting on wildlife crimes through the TIP Line; Strengthen enforcement by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers; and Support prosecution in becoming an effective deterrent. The campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations.”

For more information, contact Shaw at Yvonne.L.Shaw@odfw.oregon.gov.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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