The day after a bear attacked a Nikiski fisherman officials found no sign of the bruin.
"We were unable to find the location of the attack," said National Park Service District Ranger Jack Blackwell.
Blackwell and Department of Fish and Game biologist Jeff Selinger searched along the Swanson River Access Road, the canoe landing area and major trails that wind through Captain Cook Recreational Park. Neither spotted any bears or noticed any sign of recent bear activity, including moose carcasses.
The fisherman, William Pfendler, may have shot the bear with his shotgun before it erupted from the brush. The officials didn't find any trails of blood, but the autumn ground cover could have masked visible signs of the wound.
Blackwell advised park visitors to use additional caution when fishing or camping in the area. As always, recreationalists should clean their campsite and stay watchful around salmon streams.
"Use caution," he said. "We live in Alaska."
Selinger couldn't say for certain what provoked the attack, because he hadn't spoken with Pfendler.
"It sounds like a curious bear smelled fish," he said.
Tony Cella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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