A black bear was shot and killed in Pilot Rock when it wandered into town near the elementary school and couldn’t be shooed away.

Pilot Rock Police Department first received a call at 12:03 p.m. Tuesday informing them a black bear was spotted between Southwest Second Street and Birch Creek Road. The school, with about 200 children, went into lockdown.

Oregon State Senior Trooper Greg Sherman arrived to help local police corral the bear.

Standard protocol for state troopers is to scare the bear up a tree and then tranquilize it, as happened in Northeast Portland in July. However, the bear was mostly unfazed by humans and refused to leave.

About 1:30 p.m., when the bear couldn’t be scared away, Sherman shot and killed it. It’s not clear how old the bear was, but OSP Lt. Gregg Hastings said it was so large it barely fit in the bed of the trooper’s truck for transportation.

Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife Spokesman Rick Hargrave said the bear could have been pushed out of its territory by other bears. Hunger likely made the bear too stubborn to leave.

“They lose that fear of being out (in the open) because that sense of appetite overwhelms them, and that’s where it goes a little squirrely,” said Hargrave.

He also said tranquilizing the bear at that point wasn’t viable.

“It takes a while for those tranquilizers to take effect, then it goes off into a housing area or who knows,” he said. “You have to assess that risk.”

– The East Oregonian

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