Oregon Hunters Advised Not to Harvest Sick Bear

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The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is advising hunters not to harvest and eat a bear that was found sick in downtown Grants Pass last weekend because its meat may be unsafe to consume.

ODFW has learned that the bear was treated with tranquilizers and antibiotics by a local rehabilitation center and released into the Siskiyou National Forest. The agency is concerned for the public's health and safety because the drugs used can stay in the bear's system for as many as 30 days, and its meat would not be safe to consume during that time.

"This bear apparently had an abscessed paw and was very lethargic when it was found last Saturday," said Mark Vargas, Rogue district wildlife biologist. "It was treated with antibiotics and other drugs and released without ODFW's knowledge."

Vargas also explained that when ODFW uses tranquilizers and other drugs when handling wildlife prior to or during a hunting season, biologists collar the animal or ear tag it with information advising hunters to call the local ODFW office before eating the meat.

The bear was released approximately eight miles up on Bear Camp Road from the Galice side. It does not have identification collar or ear tag but may be identifiable by shaved spots on its hip and lower leg, areas where the medication was given. This bear is a 147-pound cinnamon colored female and is not lactating.

Any hunter that may have harvested the bear is asked to contact the Rogue Watershed District at 541/826-8778.