A man was hospitalized last week after a brown bear charged and mauled him while he was hunting near Anchorage, Alaska. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), the unidentified hunter shot the brown bear in the Ship Creek Valley area between 9 and 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 1. When the man and his hunting buddies began pursuing the injured bruin, things went awry.
“They had taken a shot at a bear and then started approaching it,” ADFG wildlife biologist Cory Stantorf told Field & Stream. “But the bear wasn’t completely dead.” The bear attacked and grabbed hold of the hunter. Other members of the man’s hunting party were quick to act, likely saving his life. They shot at the big bruin until it backed away. The wounded hunter made it out of the Ship Creek Valley without requiring emergency rescue assistance. Eventually, the bear died. The next day, the hunting party returned to the scene of the attack and retrieved the animal, according to Stantorf.
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The part of Ship Creek Valley where the attack occurred lies on land owned and managed by a United States military base called Joint-Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER). Both big game and small game hunting are permitted on select portions of the base throughout the year. Last May, an active-duty Army Staff Sgt. named Seth Micheal Plant was attacked and tragically killed by a brown bear while participating in a routine training exercise in a remote part of the JBER. That attack occurred in Training Area 412 west of the Anchorage Regional Landfill. One other soldier was injured but survived the incident, which involved a sow brown bear with cubs.
Stantorf tells F&S that the brown bear population in the Ship Creek Valley, where the recent incident occurred, is considered stable. “There’s a healthy population,” he said. “I wouldn’t say the population is heavy, [it’s] just average density.”