Brown, black bear killed in separate Eagle River shootings

Thursday, June 29, 2017 - 13:12
  • Courtesy Ken Marsh/ADFG

Authorities said two bears were were shot in Eagle River between Monday night and Tuesday morning as the ongoing conflict between bears and people in Eagle River continued to escalate.

According to Fish and Game public information officer Ken Marsh, a brown bear was shot and killed in a chicken coop at a residence on Hiland Road sometime early Tuesday morning. Fish and Game was alerted to the shooting at around 5 a.m., but Marsh said it wasn’t clear exactly when the bear was shot. Marsh said details of the shooting were still being gathered Tuesday morning. He didn’t immediately have an exact location, but confirmed a biologist had been to the scene.

Marsh said people who shoot bears in defense of life or property (DLP) have 15 days to report the incident to Fish and Game.

“Until then, we won’t really have too many more details,” he said.

Marsh said biologists were also looking into a report of a second shooting in a neighborhood not far from downtown Eagle River. He said the Anchorage Police Department responded to a bear shooting in the area of Old Eagle River Road and Baranoff Avenue. Fish and Game was told a black was shot and killed, Marsh said. Like the brown bear shooting, he said biologists are still investigating the circumstances of the shooting and didn’t have many more details.

Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Renee Oistad said that at around 9:13 p.m., police responded to Baranoff Avenue for a report a bear had been shot in the area. According to Oistad, the property owner’s son shot the bear after twice running it off the property, which includes a horse corral.

“The son shot and killed the bear when the bear came at both him and the horse corral,” Oistad wrote in a Tuesday email.

She said Fish and Game was notified of the shooting and that the son skinned the bear and removed its head per Fish and Game rules on DLP’s.

The heavily wooded neighborhood near the slopes of the Eagle River Valley is heavily wooded and crossed by a small stream.

Earlier this week, Fish and Game posted a sign warning people in the area of War Admiral Road and Highbluff Drive to be on the lookout for a brown bear that has killed a moose calf. A sign was posted along a powerline in the area telling people to stay away from the area. Fish and Game said the bear should be done feeding on the moose by Wednesday; however, people should continue to use caution in all areas of Eagle River, which is notorious for interactions between humans and bruins.

Marsh said people need to be “bear aware,” and keep any possible food sources away from bears. That means keeping trash indoors until the morning of pick-up, keeping pet food and bird feed inside, keeping barbecue grills clean and — for people with chickens or other livestock — using electric fences.

“That can be a really good deterrent,” he said.

Anchorage police shot and killed a black bear last month in East Anchorage due to “aggressive” behavior, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

The department has an online web page devoted to bear safety tips. The page (called “Living With Bears”) can be found on the department’s website, and includes information about avoiding and handling encounters with bears. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, more than 300 bears live in the Anchorage area, with many more making their homes in the adjacent Chugach State Park.

Interactions between wildlife and people is common in Eagle River. Last month, a woman was attacked by a moose in the Eaglewood subdivision while walking her dogs. She survived the attack but suffered serious injuries. On June 2, a cow moose with calves — believed to be the same mama moose that attacked the woman and several other people — was shot and killed by Fish and Game, with her calves taken to a private moose rehabiliation center.

On June 9, a bear was struck and killed by a car on the Glenn Highway near Birchwood.

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