7 Places You’re Most Likely to Encounter a Bear in Oregon This Winter

By Kirstin Harrington,

Oregon is a beautiful state in the Pacific Northwest that is beaming with wildlife. One animal the state is known for is the black bear . While smaller than grizzlies, these beautiful wild animals are relatively inactive throughout the winter.

Due to hibernation, you are a lot less likely to encounter a bear in winter in Oregon. That being said, it’s not impossible. Here are some of the places where you are most likely to find bears in the winter and some of the most popular bear sightings throughout the state.

Most Likely To Encounter a Bear

Black bears can weigh up to 600 pounds. Only The Top 1% Can Ace our Animal Quizzes Think You Can? Take Our A-Z-Animals Bears Quiz

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Black bears live all around Oregon. You may be lucky to spot a brown bear in the Cascade Range. There are roughly 30,000 black bears living in this state. They thrive off of grass, berries, plants, and delicious salmon.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife , “Black bears are found statewide, with concentrations in the Coast and Cascade ranges and the Blue Mountains.”

Crater Lake National Park is another popular place where people may see bears in the winter. The Wallowa Mountains and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area have reports of these wild animals.

Their dens are typically in densely forested regions close to the coast. Bears can head into hibernation as early as October. While this gives you less of a chance to encounter a bear in the winter in Oregon, it doesn’t make it impossible.

They typically come out of hibernation around the beginning of March, just before spring starts.

Bear Sightings In Oregon

Black bears can easily break into homes, climb over fences, and even get into cars.©steverts/iStock via Getty Images

There have been several bear sightings around the state in areas where you may not expect to see one. Here are areas with unusual bear spotting throughout Oregon .

Forest Park

A Northwest region of Portland called The Forest Park is no stranger to bears roaming around. In May of 2023, there were a minimum of six black bear sightings just that month. They were often spotted on residential security cameras.

Homeowner Kristin Shaw was on a run on Leif Erikson Germantown Trail Head when she spotted one of these apex predators. Shaw made herself appear larger and ensured that the bear knew of her presence.

“I put my arms out wide and I said, ‘Bear, get away!’ And he heard me and he didn’t want anything to do with the situation, either.”


A month later in June of 2023 residents of Eugene, OR experienced their fair share of black bear sightings. One bear in particular had been seen going from one backyard to another. A family’s dog ran up a tree in order to find safety as the bear charged after it.

These animals typically don’t pose a threat, even when they’re in your backyard. The local and state police departments both stated to hold off calling for help unless you believe the bear is going to attack or is injured.

Homeowners in bear country can keep these predators away from their backyards by making sure there is nothing that invites them in such as bird feeders or garbage cans.

City of Talent

During the month of November, it is not typical to spot a bear in Oregon. They should be hibernating at this time, but that was not the case in 2022. In the small town of Talent, OR, residents reported bear sightings in their backyards!

This captured the attention of the neighborhood. Thankfully, nobody was hurt and the wildlife services were able to handle the situation alongside the local police department.

Hunting Black Bears in Oregon

27 U.S. states allow bear hunting.©Stefan Malloch/ via Getty Images

Bear hunting is a popular pastime throughout the spring and autumn in Oregon. The state limits non-residents to just 3% of the tags available in the yearly draw. When hunting season begins in autumn you can buy a hunting license over the counter.

Many hunters will opt to use an outfitter during the spring season. Hunters are not allowed to use baits or hounds during their hunt. Experts use calls, spotting, and stalking techniques to capture these giant animals.

During the warmer seasons bears in Oregon live in a variety of landscapes. Covered canyons, creek beds, swamps, and forests are just a few of the most common bear environments in the Beaver State.

What To Do If You Encounter a Bear In Oregon

People living in bear country should always carry bear spray with them when leaving the house.©BeyondMyLens/iStock via Getty Images

If you encounter a bear:

  • STOP: Never approach a bear at any time for any reason. If you see bear cubs, leave the area.
  • GIVE IT SPACE: Give any bear you encounter a way to escape.
  • STAY CALM: Do not run or make sudden movements. Face the bear and slowly back away.
  • AVOID EYE CONTACT: Don’t make eye contact with the bear.
  • DON’T RUN: It may encourage the bear to chase you.
  • FIGHT BACK: In the unlikely event, you are attacked, fight back , shout, be aggressive, and use rocks, sticks, and hands.

The post 7 Places You’re Most Likely to Encounter a Bear in Oregon This Winter appeared first on A-Z Animals .

Source: 7 Places You’re Most Likely to Encounter a Bear in Oregon This Winter

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