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WASILLA - Bear encounters and deaths are on the rise so far this summer in the Mat-Su Valley.
The Anchorage Daily News reports 13 bears have been shot and killed as people protected themselves and their property. That number compares to the average of five deaths per summer.
State game biologist Tony Kavalok says this summer is shaping up to be unusually busy. He says his office is getting a steady stream of calls about nuisance bears.
Kavalok says it's not clear why bears are encountering people, but a poor salmon return this summer may be forcing bears to move around in search of food.