Jackson County firefighters have seen it all, but even they were shocked to find the bodies of two black bears killed in Talent.
The Oregon State Police continue to seek information about this Oct. 29 case and is providing more details in hopes of finding the perpetrators.
OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers and firefighters teamed up responding to a call of a black bear with an arrow protruding from its chest, lodged in a tree off Anderson Creek Road, near Talent on Oct. 29. When law enforcement officials arrived at the scene at about 3:00 p.m., they called Jackson County Fire District 5 to assist in removing the 275-pound female bear from the tree.
Fire crews brought a ladder truck to access the bear, which was 40 to 50 feet up in a pine tree. After determining the bear was dead, it took firefighters about five minutes to dislodge the carcass by using a roof hook and shaking the tree.
Investigators determined that poachers had shot the bear multiple times with both a firearm and a bow and arrow, then left it to die. Investigators later found the decomposed carcass of a second bear in a nearby tree. Troopers did not remove the second bear because it was badly decomposed and scavenged.
Fish & Wildlife investigators found two bullets lodged in the female bear, along with an arrow protruding from her chest, according to OSP Fish & Wildlife Sgt. Jim Collom. The scene shocked firefighters who are well-versed in removing both live animals and carcasses from ponds, mud pits and other difficult-to reach places.
Dave Meads, Jackson Co Fired District Five captain, was part of the bear removal team.
“In my career I have not seen anything like this,” Meads 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.”
The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) invests a lot of time and resources into bear conservation and management, according to Derek Broman, ODFW carnivore coordinator.
“People in Oregon care about bears,” Broman said. “Waste of an animal means a lot to Oregonians. This is unacceptable criminal activity that wastes people’s resources, time and energy.”
Broman describes Oregon’s bear population as robust with current models indicating about 34,000 bears across the state.
“This is probably not a case of people simply having problems with bears, but a case of senseless killing,” Broman said.
“We collect information on every bear mortality we can to track the population,” Broman continued, citing tooth collection, ongoing population models and data tracking. “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 is encouraged to contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 1-800-452-7888, *OSP (*677), or email at TIP@osp.oregon.gov. Reference case number SP22291483.