‘A tough year for bears in Dunes City’


Wildlife sightings continue in area

Nov. 13, 20198 — It was around a month ago when the bear broke into a home in Dunes City.

“A couple who live on Woodland Lane came downstairs to have breakfast and they found a bear in the kitchen,” Dunes City Administrator/Recorder Jamie Mills said. “Apparently, he broke in through a sliding glass door in the back and was hungry. It had, of course, torn everything up.”

The couple called the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to take the bear away, but that wasn’t the only incident in Dunes City. This month, an attempted break-in occurred on Chittum Loop.

“The bear was trying to get into the back through the sliding glass door,” said Mills. “He was on his back legs, towering over this man. And I’ve got to tell you, this man was not little. The bear was banging on the glass, trying to get it to give.”

The man made some noise and the bear eventually took off.

Then there are the incidents with the trees.

Mills read from an email from a resident near Ford Way: “Yesterday morning, a good size bear started climbing a tree that was about 20 feet from me as I stood in the doorway on my deck. We just looked at each other for a while, and he decided to jump down and ambled toward the lake. I would guess he was two years old.”

That resident had a neighbor who saw a bear walking up their driveway and climbing up an apple tree on their property.

“[Dunes City Planning Secretary Rapunzel Oblerholtzer] lost an apple tree to a bear this year,” Mills said. “It broke the tree down so it could reach everything. That’s what they do. They’re breaking them so it falls to the ground so they can eat the apples.”

And then there was Mills’ own breakfast incident on Friday morning.

“I’m having breakfast and looking across the lake where someone is building a new house on Jensen lane, and all of a sudden what I thought was a wastepaper bin got up and moved,” Mills recalled. “I grabbed the binoculars and sure enough, there was a bear. …

“It’s a tough year for bears here in Dunes City.”

The culprit for the recent spate of bear sightings appears to be a lack of berries on the bushes. Mills spoke with representatives at multiple ODFW offices, who told her the berry crop ended early this year. The bears didn’t have enough time to get fattened up, so now they’re turning to additional food sources.

“They’re desperately looking for other food,” Mills said. “A lot of us have apple trees and pear trees and yummy stuff growing in their yard. And then when they get to a neighborhood where trash goes out at night instead of the morning, they just help themselves to the buffet.”

It is strongly recommended that residents ensure they have no bear-attracting food sources in their yards. All the apples, pears and pomegranates should be harvested from the trees, and pet food should not be left out in the garage or on a porch.

“And please, do not put your garbage out until the morning of pickup,” Mills said.

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