Oregon is home to nearly 30,000 black bears, Ursus americanus, America’s most common bear species. They can grow up to six feet long and weight anything from 125 to 500 pounds. In fact, the name “black bear” is misleading, because they can have brown or gray coats.
If you’re on the lookout for bears in Oregon, you’ll only find black bears, since grizzlies haven’t been seen in the state since the 1930s. They make their home in Oregon’s abundant forests, where they create dens for hibernation, climb up trees, and forage.
If you’re really looking to find one, try visiting areas that have been clear-cut and allowed to grow for a few years. They are easier to spot, and they feed on the grass and brush.
They also feed on berries, nuts, and fruits; they can eat small mammals, insects, fish, and amphibians, but they are not usually actively hunting.
The best time to spot a black bear is in the middle of the summer, when their breeding season begins. Males and females will be more active, and yearling bears are becoming independent and can be seen roaming around roads and clear cuts. They are also independent animals, so don’t expect to see many in the same place.
Are you passionate about nature and travel? Learn how Oregon State University’s Sustainable Tourism Management program helps students make a positive impact on the environment while pursuing a rewarding career in the tourism industry.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism can be described as a form of tourism that thoroughly considers its present and future effects on the economy, society, and environment. It aims to cater to the requirements of not only visitors, but the industry, the environment, and local communities involved as well.
Oregon State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Tourism, Recreation, and Adventure Leadership (TRAL) degree in the College of Forestry. Within this major, there are 4 concentrations that a student can choose to focus on: 1) outdoor recreation management, 2) adventure leadership education, 3) nature, eco and adventure tourism, and 4) sustainable tourism management.
The sustainable tourism management option aims to equip students with the skills to effectively plan, develop, and manage nature-based tourism across the globe in collaboration with communities, non-governmental organizations, and governments. Nature-based tourism refers to when visitors travel to a destination to experience and enjoy nature. Students in sustainable tourism management will learn and focus on these things:
Sustainability– learn about the triple bottom line (social, environmental, economic)
Natural Resources– learn about the relationship between visitors and ecology
Business and Management– learn how to apply the best practices
Monitoring and assessment tools– learn how to create and interpret data
Physical and Social Sciences– learn how multiple disciplines work together
Equity– learn about the cultural resources and complex histories of communities
Upon completing the program, graduates can follow various career paths, working in either the public or private sector. Below are just a few examples of agencies and positions of what someone with a sustainable tourism management degree could pursue:
US Forest Service
Bureau of Land Management
National Park Service
For more information, check out the College of Forestry advising guide!
Humans have a love-hate relationship with Largemouth bass. How can the most popular game fish in North America also be an invasive species?
Largemouth bass are carnivorous freshwater found in lakes, ponds, and rivers. Coastal fish in our region can exceed 25-inches and weigh 12 lbs. The longest ever largemouth bass recorded at 39.2 inches; the heaviest at 22 lbs.
The original largemouth bass North American range included the St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes, Hudson Bay-Red River, and Mississippi River basin. Largemouth bass are found North Carolina to Florida and into northern Mexico.
Bass are considered to be one of the world’s most tolerant freshwater fish that easily adapt to lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers, and sloughs. They are also tolerant of various water temperatures (both hot and cold). This flexibility has helped these fish become year-around favorites in many areas. Georgia and Mississippi chose largemouth bass as their ‘State Fish.’ Florida and Alabama chose the bass for their ‘State Freshwater Fish.’
Bass look for areas with weedy or overhanging cover, submerged structures, and varying depths. They look for sandy, mucky, or gravelly bottoms. Rock and weedy bottoms are using for nesting. Too much weed cover hampers hunting and feeding activities and can cause the fish to starve.
Adult Largemouth bass are opportunistic Apex predators. They have the capability of outcompeting native fish and other species when transplanted to a new environment. This has led to declines and extinctions of native frogs, salamanders, and a wide variety of fish species in some lakes.
As adults, they hunt smaller fish and younger members of large fish species. Other prey include snails, crawfish, snakes, water birds/fledglings, and mammals (bats, etc.). Prey may be as large as 50 percent of the fish’s body or larger.
There will be no question if you hook a Largemouth bass. When hooked, bass will leap, dive, and put up a good fight. These antics and powerful fight has helped make them one of the most popular recreational fish species in the world.
Bass fishing is a multi-million dollar industry in the U.S. Competitive bass fishing is popular in the U.S., Japan, Korea, Italy, Australia, and South Africa. The popularity of bass fishing has encouraged the development of specialized gear such as:
electronic “depth” finder and “fish” finding instruments,
drift boats, float tubes, and bass boats.
These fish are very tolerant to careful catch and release fishing. Large largemouth bass are often adult breeding females that should be released when possible.
Can you eat them?
Why yes. In the spring, the smaller largemouth (around 10-14 inches) typically have higher quality meat. The meat has few bones making it a choice for grilling, frying, or adding to other recipes. Cooking odors may say ‘outdoor barbeque’ for many, and the taste may be a little too ‘fishy’ for some (based on the individual fish’s diet).
Where to fish them?
There are fantastic fishing areas in our region. Some areas to visit include: Tenmile Lakes in Lakeside (premier), and Loon, Tahkenitch, Siltcoos, and Lytle Lakes. For more information see your Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife regulations and license requirements.
REFERENCES: –Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, largemouth bass (https://myodfw.com/fishing/species/largemouth-bass) –Canada BC Invasive Fish (https://bcinvasives.ca/invasive-species/identify/invasive-fish/largemouth-bass) –Best Fishing in America, Largemouth bass fishing in Western Oregon (https://www.bestfishinginamerica.com/OR-largemouth-bass-fishing-in-western-oregon.html) –Wikipedia, largemouth bass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largemouth_bass) –USDA, Fish and Wildlife Service, Freshwater Fish of America (https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/freshwater-fish-of-america/largemouth_bass.html) –Can you eat largemouth bass (https://btycc.org/can-you-eat-largemouth-bass/#Is-largemouth-bass-good-to-eat?)
Associate Professor - Tourism and Business Development
College of Forest Ecosystems & Society
Oregon State University Extension - Oregon Sea Grant
Equal Opportunity/Accessibility https://extension.oregonstate.edu/equal-opportunity-accessibility