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Troopers search for tips in brown bear poaching

Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Alaska State Troopers are investigating the death of a brown bear after the bruin’s body was found on an old logging road south of Ninilchik, where it had apparently been laying dead for a week.

“It’s bloated and the hair’s all coming off of it and birds have been eating on it,” Trooper Travis Bordner said.

Bordner found the bear on Monday after having received a report of a possible brown bear poaching in the area.

The gravel road on which the bear was found is on private Native land near Mile 142 of the Sterling Highway.

Although he did not see a bullet wound on the bear, Bordner said he believes it was shot and did not die of natural causes.

“Brown bear hunting’s not open so they shouldn’t have been shooting at a brown bear,” he said.

Bordner has called the person who reported the possible poaching, but has not yet been able to reach them.

Brown bear poaching reports are uncommon, he said. More commonly a non-hunting brown bear kill occurs when someone shoots the animal in defense of life and property.

He said it is possible the bear found Monday was shot as a DLP and the person who shot it failed to report it because they did not want to deal with the hassle of salvaging the hide and bringing it to authorities.

Or the bear could have been shot when it was mistaken for another animal, he said.

“I’ve had people shoot on brown bears thinking they were deer before, so they could’ve thought it was a moose,” he said. “We’ll have to hope somebody calls and talks.”

Bordner said he took pictures of the bear, but because of suspicious circumstances revealed in the pictures he could not release them for publishing.

Bordner said he could not yet discuss the suspicious circumstances without compromising troopers’ investigation.



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