Black Bear on Centralia’s Davis Hill Was Already a Pest; Now, There Are Two


After a black bear became a nuisance to Roanoke Street and other residents of Davis Hill in Centralia in early June, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) set a trap for the furry pest at the home of Joe Kelly.

WDFW’s live-holding trap was meant to catch the troublesome bear by tempting it with jelly donuts and apple pie stuffed into a plastic jug, which, if pulled, triggers the door shut. So far, it’s been over 20 days since the trap was set, and not only has the bear not been caught: Now, there is a second one.

Originally caught on cameras set up for security by Kelly’s daughter, Susie Ballton, the first bear was assumed to be a male because he didn’t have a cub. Now that there are two, Kelly thinks the bears could be mates. One, he said, is significantly larger than the other.

By early June, four families on the hill had reported problems with the first bear. At this point, it seems almost every resident has had the animals rummage through their trash cans, compost piles or bird feeders.

“We haven’t had any action at all with the cages,” Kelly said. “They went right by the bear trap. We have a lot of good feed in there but they’re looking for garbage cans.”

Adding to residents’ stress of two hungry neighborhood bears is that the bears have been seen during the daytime on more than one occasion, which was previously unusual.

“They’re getting brave,” Kelly said.

More items have been added to the bear trap including bird seed and other treats, but the bears just don’t seem to care.

A neighbor just down the hill from Kelly has reported seeing the pair in their yard in the morning around 7:30 a.m. It’s possible WDFW will move the trap closer to that home in the near future.

“There isn’t anything I can report to you that’s positive,” Kelly said. “All we know is that we got two bears rather than one.”

WDFW told Ballton that time of year, bears are coming out of hibernation, hungry and seeking easy snacks. Folks can decrease their chances of attracting bears by storing trash inside, keeping compost piles fenced and not putting out bird feeders. Even hummingbird feeders can attract bears with the smell of sugar.

According to Becky Elder with WDFW, if the Davis Hill bears are captured, they will be relocated to a “more preferred location,” farther away from densely populated areas.

For more information about living safely near bears, download the fact sheet on WDFW’s living with wildlife: black bears page. The link is