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Trappers mauled by bear near Kenai River

Posted: November 13, 2012 - 5:48pm  |  Updated: November 13, 2012 - 11:14pm

A brown bear sow mauled two Anchorage men setting traps near the Kenai River on Saturday night, sending one to an Anchorage hospital with serious injuries, a wildlife official said.

Jeff Selinger, Alaska Department of Fish and Game area wildlife biologist, said the two men, whose names or ages he could not immediately release, were attacked a half mile upstream of the Kenai Keys on the south — or Funny River — side of the river.

Both men were attacked by the bear during the incident but officials from Central Emergency Services said only one man was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital and then flown to Anchorage with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

Selinger said the two men were separated at the time the sow attacked the first man. Upon hearing the bear and the man’s cries for help, the second man ran to help.

“He yelled at the bear and tried to get him away from the area and it came after him and knocked him down and then went back to the first individual and worked him over some more and then left the area,” Selinger said.

Neither man had a gun or bear spray, Selinger said.

The second man received only bruises from the indecent and returned Monday to retrieve the traps the two set. The man reported he saw cub tracks in the area as well, Selinger said.

It is late in the year for a bear attack, Selinger said, but some brown bears do not den as soon or as heavily as others. He said active bears have been caught in traps in the area well into December.

“Some bears rarely sleep,” he said.

Selinger said Fish and Game has no plans to go searching for the bear.

“The victims even said, ‘That’s the last thing we want you to do, to go out and try to track this bear down because it is obvious we got into its space,’” he said.

It is unclear if the bear was an overly aggressive bear or one just defending its area, Selinger said.

“It is hard to say, a lot of times when this happens the bears will leave the area,” he said. “Not all the time, but often. It is a lot different if it is a single bear or if it is a sow with cubs acting defensively. Most times it is a defensive attack when that occurs, not one necessarily being overly aggressive. However, it can be.”

Selinger advised trappers to be bear aware and carry protection.

“If you are going out there, just be aware,” he said. “It you are putting out bait or setting traps the bears are still active and I would highly suggest having a firearm with you in case you run into a bad situation. At the very least, bear spray.”

Brian Smith can be reached at

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funnyriverroader 11/14/12 - 07:50 pm

I know that these guys came all the way from Anchorage and felt that they were in the middle of no were. But to me,friends and family it is are back yard. They need to kill this bear. It was not all that far from bus stops out here and even closer to to family's across the river. I did not hunt them this year or ever. But it seems to me that fish and game could have and should have taken this bear out. Now that this predator knows it can harm us at will!! Surly more bears that are not the problem bear are going to get shot!!!! So I guess make sure to pack your gun even when walking to your car!!! Let alone when your children are out sledding or playing in the yard. Thank YOU Fish and Wildlife!!!!!

calcan2 11/15/12 - 07:59 am
Bear mauling

The problem is, that there are too many wolves on the peninsula. They eat all the moose, leaving the poor bears nothing to eat. If you don't believe me, just ask Selinger or Spraker. There is absolutely no verifibale way to count bears, however, they are in short supply on the peninsula. Just ask the experts.

robert white
robert white 11/15/12 - 07:59 am

I don't feel sorry for these two dips, going in between the two killeys this time of year is like walking down a bunch of bee hives with no shirt on!

freedomlibertytruth 11/15/12 - 02:34 pm

Robert White, in so few words you hit the point perfectly.
Neither man had a gun or bear spray. WTH

funnyriverroader,'But to me,friends and family it is are back yard' Anchorage people don't understand that.

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