Brown bear defends cubs against car

Posted: Wednesday, July 03, 2002

DILLINGHAM (AP) -- While many residents have encountered Alaska brown bears, not many have had an experience like the one Ross Armstrong had last month.

Returning home to Dillingham from Aleknagik on June 23, Armstrong and a passenger came upon a sight seen by many who travel the winding, gravel road.

They spotted two bear cubs on their right. Armstrong stopped to watch the young brownies go about their business.

Armstrong's mother, Pinky, who owns the car, said her son's eye then caught something strange coming from his left side. By the time he turned, a sow brown bear's mouth was already on the car.

''He saw some quick movement, and when he turned, its open mouth was on the car,'' Pinky Armstrong told the Bristol Bay Times. ''Right here you can see where the top and the bottom teeth hit.''

The highly protective mother attacked the windshield on the driver's side. The bear left Armstrong's windshield cracked in baseball-size, spider web shapes in two different spots, about 14 inches apart.

''That kid isn't afraid of anything, and he was shaking like this when he got home,'' Pinky Armstrong said of her son, holding up a trembling hand.

After the bear hit the car, Ross Armstrong looked on the other side of the road and saw two more cubs.

Ross Armstrong departed for a commercial salmon fishing openings in the Nushagak District after the incident. Pinky Armstrong is wondering what to do about the cracked windshield.

''Boy, what do I tell the insurance about this?'' said, smiling.



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