Dangerous Alaskan Bear Put Down

Anchorage Daily News, Bear Hunting Magazine
07/01/2007

A state biologist Friday shot and killed a black bear that has been threatening people in Kincaid Park and along the Coastal Trail.

Rick Sinnott, area biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game, made finding the bear a priority after two new reports of it chasing a jogger and startling a bicyclist on Thursday night. Neither person was hurt.

Sinnott said he walked throughout the 1,400-acre park on Friday, searching for the animal, and estimated he probably covered more than 10 miles on Kincaid's trails.

By about 5:45 p.m., tired and footsore, he was about ready to give up for the day.

"I thought, well, screw it," he said. "I'll just go home. ... I walked back and it was 10 feet from my truck."

Sinnott had parked near a compost facility just off the Coastal Trail.

"The bed of my truck is often fairly aromatic with dead things," he said. "There's nothing specifically dead in the back of it, but the bear was just kind of walking up like he wanted to crawl in."

Sinnott shot the young adult male bear with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Black bears in Kincaid are not unusual. Sinnott said in the last decade, one or two have usually come into the park for a couple of weeks every year. "They come in, rattle around, then leave," he said.

Sightings of this bear started in early June and with time increased in frequency. The bear was becoming habituated to humans, showing no signs of fear, and staying on the paved Coastal Trail even as people approached. On Tuesday, the bear followed two men walking on the trail for about a half-hour, according to one of them.

The bear was ranging over about 8 miles, and may have been raiding garbage cans in a neighborhood adjacent to the park, Sinnott said.

"Once in a while, a black bear will be a predator. It seems to be a slow, evolving process where they sort of test people and see what they are all about. And that's what this one is doing," Sinnott said before he found the bear late Friday afternoon.



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