Kenai Peninsula residents kill two grizzlies

Posted: Monday, May 19, 2008

KENAI - Two Kenai Peninsula grizzly have died this spring at the hands of residents defending life or property.

The bear deaths follow a mauling of a jogger by a bear sow with two cubs April 18 in Kenai.

The first bear killed was a sub-adult female grizzly on May 4 at a home on Funny River Road. Jeff Selinger, area management wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the bear was a repeat offender.

"It had gotten into a freezer on more than one occasion and the homeowner had taken a lot of precautions to keep bears out of the freezer, so it was justified," he said.

The second shooting took place Tuesday off Crooked Creek Road in Kasilof.

"A man was walking his dog when a bear came out and he felt threatened so he shot it," Selinger said. The incident is under review by the department.

Selinger said May seems to be a typical time of year for the first defense of life and property shootings on the peninsula.

On May 1, 2006, a sub-adult male brown bear was shot at the Solid Rock Bible Camp. The first shooting last year took place during the first week of May when a grizzly charged a lone man hunting for moose antlers in Ninilchik.

"Bears come out and they're lethargic at first, but by now they're moving around," he said. "Moose calves haven't dropped yet though, so it's a lean time of year for bears. They go to where food is at, and often get shot."

Several other Kenai Peninsula bears have had contact with humans.

On May 9, a grizzly got into garbage at a home in the Mackey Lake Road area.

On Tuesday, a Ninilchik man shot at a bear getting into his chicken pen, which had no electric fencing. He hit the bear in the neck with bird shot from his .410 shotgun, Selinger said.

"We do not recommend doing that. If you're going to shoot at a bear, shoot to kill, not to wound," he said.

On Wednesday, a sow with one cub got into a freezer in Sterling. Selinger said the homeowner did not have measures in place to prevent the bears from gaining access to the food in the freezers, but planned to do so.

Selinger said most negative bear incidents can be avoided by minimizing attractants - placing garbage in bear-resistant containers and making frequent trips to haul it off.

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