Medford police kill bear that attacked woman

·2 min read

Sep. 7—Medford police killed a bear Tuesday night in west Medford that had attacked a woman Monday night off Ross Lane.

Police killed a 148-pound female bear at about 10 p.m. Tuesday on Pinecroft Avenue, a street about 400 yards from where the attack occurred Monday.

Medford police were called to the area at 9:42 p.m. by a resident who reported a bear was in a tree in her front yard.

"Upon arrival, officers set up a perimeter and called Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for assistance," Medford police reported on its Facebook page. "As officers were waiting for assistance from OSP and ODFW, the bear started to climb out of the tree to flee. Officers on scene shot and killed the bear for the safety of the community.

"OSP and ODFW collected the bear for inspection and confirmed it was the bear from the prior night's attack based on the investigative evidence," police reported.

ODFW examined the bear, and the animal had no apparent injuries, was not lactating, and the reproductive tract showed no recent cubs this year, said an email Wednesday from Meghan Dugan, a spokesperson for ODFW.

The bear was too old to estimate its age until a pulled tooth is analyzed, but its molars were worn down a lot, Dugan said.

"We have not had repeated reports of bears in that area to be able to determine if it was habituated," Dugan said. "ODFW fully supports MPD's decision to kill this bear for public safety, as we do not relocate adult bears that are considered a human safety threat, or that are habituated, because they return or repeat the behavior elsewhere.

The woman who was attacked Monday lived on Thorn Oak Drive, a street off Ross Lane about two blocks from Logos Charter School.

The victim called 911 at 8:41 p.m., but officials with ODFW and OSP Fish and Wildlife were unable to find the bear.

Matthew Vargas, assistant district wildlife biologist with ODFW, said the victim drove herself to the hospital. The woman's left arm and left leg had puncture and scratch wounds.

"The landowner was messing around in their yard with a can for grass compost and went behind the shed, and when they came around the corner from behind the shed, stumbled upon the bear," Vargas said.

Immediately after the bear began attacking the woman, her two dogs intervened, incurring some scratches and puncture wounds but ultimately chasing the bear off the property. Witnesses reported the bear was hit by a car as it ran off.

Reach reporter Buffy Pollock at 541-776-8784 or Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal.