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Trail Mix crew takes down attacking bear

Posted: Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Trail Mix crew was forced to kill a brown bear that attacked them on Admiralty Island last week.

Trail Mix executive director George Schaaf said the brown bear sow charged the three-man crew that was working at Oliver Inlet State Marine Park on Monday evening. He said the crew tried making noise to divert the bear, but it kept charging. Ultimately, they had to shoot the bear to put it down.

"We're really happy everyone was OK, but it's unfortunate this had to happen. We never like to see this happen to a bear," said Schaaf.

Schaaf said he was not with the crew when the incident occurred, and that he was too far out of range for the crew to reach him on a cell phone. The crew signaled for assistance using a beacon satellite.

On Tuesday, he was able to join them accompanied by a ranger from Alaska State Parks.

He said the bear's hide and head were salvaged and taken to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Schaaf said this area has a high concentration of bears, but attacks are rare because they are used to people.

"They typically avoid people," he said. "It's unusual for this to happen."

He said there are between 1,200 and 1,600 bears on Admiralty Island, giving it an average of one bear for every square mile.

"Everyone is really experienced in working in bear country out there," he said, noting that the crew was prepared and acted accordingly.

He added that the incident happened about 100 yards from a public use cabin, but the remains are away from public view, about 300 yards out.

• Contact Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.



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