Sitka: Police shoot at bear that killed dog

Posted: Sunday, June 02, 2002

Sitka police took two shots at a bear early last Sunday morning after it killed a dog in a wooded Sawmill Creek Road neighborhood. The bear ran into the woods and hasn't yet been located, police said.

"I'm leaning toward believing the bear was hit," said Police Chief Bob Gorder. "One of the officers is a hunter, and the other was a sniper when he was in the U.S, Army, so they both have the skill to hit what they want."

Police were called at about 1:40 a.m. Sunday after the bear killed a mixed-breed dog chained to a post in a yard near Whale Park. The chain had been damaged and a blood-and-hair-trail led away from the house.

Officers confronted the bear about 30 yards away as it stood over the place where it had buried the dog, Gorder said.

"That means he was going to come back for it," he said. "The bear showed no fear, and refused to leave the area. The officers made a judgment call that the bear, unfortunately, needed to be killed, and I fully support their decision."

Officers Don Ridge and Daryl Rice simultaneously fired 12-gauge shotgun slugs from about 15 yards, he said. The bear ran off, and the officers were unable to locate it.

"I would be surprised if they missed, but with a 1 ounce piece of lead, large, heavy and fairly slow from a ballistics standpoint, the penetration you would get isn't the same as you would get with a high powered rifle," Gorder said.

A dead bear was found floating in Eastern Channel Tuesday afternoon and is probably the one police shot, Trooper Thomas Akelkok of the Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection reported Tuesday.

Akelkok recovered the bear Tuesday afternoon after receiving a call from a fisherman who spotted the floating carcass. Before leaving town on other business Tuesday, he skinned out the bear and "disposed of" the rest of the remains.

The bear had been shot in the belly, but no bullets were recovered.

"I'm fairly comfortable, since we've had no more reports from that neighborhood, that this is the same bear," Gorder said. "All signs point to it."

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