Bear cubs euthanized after sow shot

Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2003

A brown bear sow that had been frequenting the Russian River with her three cubs in recent weeks was shot and killed early Wednesday morning by a man who claimed to fear for his safety.

According to witnesses, the bear was shot at approximately 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning near the river. The three cubs were captured by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Friday using tranquilizer darts, but later had to be euthanized.

The bears had become well known to area fishers in recent weeks for their habit of wandering close to the popular fishing hole near Cooper Landing, often displaying little fear of humans.

Apparently, the man came across the bears while hiking near the river. He fired in the direction of a charging bear, then left the scene not knowing whether he'd hit it or not. He reported the incident to Fish and Game, who arrived at the scene Friday, located the bear and confirmed that it had been killed.

The man's identity has not been released. Officials with Fish and Game were unavailable for comment Saturday.

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