Hunters most likely bear victims

Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Following Sunday's bear attack, the first reported this year on the Kenai Peninsula, where a brown bear attacked a hunter, Alaska Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials noted the circumstances made for a mostly unavoidable incident.

"Statistically, hunters are the most likely to get mauled, because they're doing all of the things people aren't supposed to do to avoid getting mauled," said Fish and Game spokesperson Bruce Bartley.

He said this includes hunting into the wind, as opposed to having the wind at their backs, remaining concealed instead of being out in the open and being silent rather than making a lot of noise.

"You can tell a guy to hunt with the wind to his back, he'll hunt for years and he'll never kill anything," Bartley said.

Rob Barto, a law enforcement officer for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, said there's no correct response for a bear attack.

"We've all read the books, but each bear is going to react differently," Barto said.

Bartley offered some advice for hunters venturing into bear-filled woods:

Pay attention and be aware of the potential for danger.

Hunt in pairs. If you have an animal down, one should be butchering, the other should be watching out for anything approaching.

If you have to make multiple trips, move the meat away from the gut pile (several hundred yards away). Put it out in an open place where you can see all the approaches.

When you kill something, put on your rain gear, because you can wash your rain gear and not have it on you while sleeping in your tent or packing it out.

When you get meat back to your camp, you want to have it in a meat cache that is out in the open where you can see all approaches to it.

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