SITKA (AP) A bear was shot and killed Monday near a popular hiking trail after it killed a dog and charged the dog's owner.
The bear was a healthy 3-year-old male weighing 275 pounds to 300 pounds, according to Sitka Police and Fish and Wildlife officers.
Burgess Bauder, an experienced outdoorsman, said problems with the bear started Monday morning as he took his daily walk with his three Labrador retrievers on Cross Trail.
At one point, he noticed that his oldest dog, 12-year-old Cygnet, was missing. He turned around and looked for her but she wasn't there.
I was in a tizzy. I drove home, and dropped off one of the dogs,'' he said.
Bauder retraced his steps on the Cross Trail to Indian River. When he reached a heavily wooded area, he heard a woof'' sound from the bushes. The young dog with him turned and ran away.
Boiling out of the bush was the biggest bear I've ever seen,'' Bauder said.
Bauder backed away and fell on his backside.
The bear woofed'' a few more times and walked back into the brush.
I thought, she's guarding something, my dog's missing,'' Bauder said, putting two and two together. He kept his eyes on the area where the bear disappeared, and called the police on his cell phone.
Sitka police Lts. Garry McCrary and Sheldon Schmitt, officer Kyle Ferguson, and Fish and Wildlife Trooper Thomas Akelkok arrived soon afterward and found a blood trail and the ground torn up about 10 yards off the trail.
Akelkok and Ferguson spotted the bear about 10 to 15 yards away in the brush. When it made a move toward them, Ferguson shot at it with a 12-gauge shotgun and Akelkok shot his .458 Magnum rifle, hitting the bear in the lip. The bear ran off through thick brush.
The wounded animal was tracked south along a blood trail. Parts of the dead dog were found along the way.
Akelkok caught sight of the bear. It stood up and bellowed,'' prompting Fish and Game area management wildlife biologist Phil Mooney to fire a shot. About a dozen shots were fired all together, killing the bear.
After the bear was shot, Bauder carried the remains of his dog out of the woods. He said he plans to be back on the Cross Trail Tuesday.
First I need to have a good cry about this,'' Bauder said. She slept at the foot of my bed.''
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