Angoon residents look for wounded grizzly

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- Authorities in Angoon have been unable to find a grizzly bear wounded after it charged a man Saturday.

Randy Gamble, 32, of Angoon told the Juneau Empire he had walked about a half mile down a beach south of the Admiralty Island town shortly after 10 a.m. to check on a friend's unoccupied cabin when he encountered the bear.

''I turned a bend of the beach, and the bear was in the woods about 15 feet away,'' Gamble said. '' He grunted and I yelled. Usually they turn and run. He didn't. He came at me,'' Gamble said.

Brown bears are common on Admiralty Island. Gamble said he carries a .306-caliber rifle as a precaution. He shot the bear as it charged.

''He landed about five feet in front of me,'' he said. ''Thank God I had a round in the chamber. If I had to load my rifle, I think he would have been on top of me.''

Gamble said after he fired, the bear was on the ground grunting. Gamble chambered another round but stepped back and fell. When he stood, the bear was running into the woods.

Gamble said his first thought was to drive the bear away and he fired a round over the animal's head as it ran off.

''I should've tried to put the bear down,'' he said. ''The last thing I wanted to do was wound a bear.''

He returned Saturday afternoon with Angoon Public Safety Officer Jess Daniels and two others. Gamble said it was clear the bear had lost a lot of blood, but he believes the bear is alive. One of the men who accompanied Gamble on Saturday afternoon spent Monday searching the area without success.

Dispatcher Irene Paul said that as of Tuesday morning the bear had not been found.

''They're still out looking for him,'' she said.

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