Two technicians with the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge were forced to kill a sow bear on Sunday after it charged them on the south end of Kodiak Island. Deputy Refuge Manager Tevis Underwood said the pair were near Red Lake and heading to a hillside camp to observe bear behavior in the Connecticut Creek drainage.
“In transit they ran into a bear in a brushy area,” he said. “The bear roared and that was the first they knew it was there (and) it charged immediately downhill at them. Methods of deterring by waving arms and shouting did not turn the bear and the bear was shot at approximately eight feet.”
Underwood said the two, who he declined to name citing US Fish and Wildlife policy, were shaken up, but uninjured.
“I’m told the technicians are handling it well. They were pulled back to the main base camp for a few days to process, but they’re still going to be continuing their work for the summer,” he said.
Underwood said the sow had a pair of cubs in their third summer, which ran off when their mother was killed.
“They were seen near the site by air on Tuesday, so they are traveling together, and so they have a better chance to survive rather than being singles and being alone,” he said. “An on-site evaluation was done and we just feel like they have a chance and we should give it to them.”
This is the first defense of life and property shooting of a bear by Kodiak Refuge staff since 1982. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game was notified as per state law and the hide, skull and paws were all turned over to the state.