- Associated Press - Sunday, June 4, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A Douglas Island homeowner shot a brown bear after feeling threatened by the animal, Alaska wildlife officials said.

The 725-pound brown bear was shot on May 25, said Ryan Scott, Alaska Department of Fish & Game wildlife regional supervisor. It is the first documented, or legal, killing of a brown bear in Douglas Island reported to the department since 1974, the Juneau Empire reported (https://bit.ly/2qQcj8h).

“It’s a rare event to have them on Douglas or really in Juneau,” Scott said. “Over the years we’ve had reports of bear swimming adjacent to the island. Even that’s very, very rare.”

The male homeowner told wildlife officials that instead of running away, the bear turned around and faced him. The man said he was afraid the bear might charge at him and decided to shoot.

Officials did not identify the man involved.

The Alaska Wildlife Troopers who investigated the kill site found the man justified in the shooting. The defense of life or property law allows people who feel in danger from wildlife to defend themselves and use lethal force, said Megan Peters, a Trooper spokeswoman.

The wildlife department is not sure where the bear came from. Black bears are common in the Douglas area, but brown bears are rarer. Officials suspect the bear’s odd behavior might have been due to breeding season.

“Generally speaking, brown bear are pretty shy unless there are some other issues with food conditioning and things like that,” Scott said.

The homeowner was not required to salvage the bear’s meat afterward.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

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