Bullets found in bear killed by SUV

Posted: Wednesday, September 05, 2001

A black bear killed by a vehicle Monday night on Glacier Highway near Industrial Boulevard had been shot some time in the past.

Two residents of a local halfway house found bullets when they salvaged the bear for the kitchen.

"We dug out two .22 (caliber) older ones," said Woody Baldwin, a resident of Gastineau Manor who helped fellow resident Dan Merit skin and butcher the bear.

The bullets had hit the bear in the elbow and knee, Baldwin said this morning.

"The wounds were healed over and there was scar tissue over them," he said. "It's sad somebody took pot shots at it."

When Merit and Baldwin checked the bear's stomach to see what it had been eating, they found grass and berries. The bear had very little body fat, Baldwin said.

"At first she looked like a 2-year-old to me," he added. "She was either the runt of the litter or had been injured so bad she couldn't get any fish on her own."

The bear was hit by a Ford Expedition about 9:15 p.m. Monday as it attempted to cross the road near Swampy Acres, a Glacier Highway business. "It was dead in the middle of the road," said Amanda Sidney of Swampy Acres. The vehicle was not damaged nor was the driver injured, said Capt. Tom Porter of the Juneau Police Department. A volunteer fireman moved the bear to the side of the road.

The bear was an 8-year-old female that had been captured and tagged two years ago. The bear did not appear to have cubs, said Neil Barten, biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The bear was small, only 150 to 175 pounds, said Andy Swanston, operations director of Gastineau Human Services, which runs the halfway house.

"We receive game quite frequently from the police or troopers - either road-killed or confiscated because it's illegally taken," Swanston said. "The residents skin it for ADF&G who take the hide and skulls for their research. The meat is used by the residents. We have a lot of people who are on the borderline of subsistence, even if they are not Alaska Natives. They really appreciate the meat, and it's a cost savings for everybody. Generally every little bit is used."

Black bears are a common sight in the area, which includes a horse barn and other farm animals, said Sidney. "We see bears all the time here, at least once a week," she said. They don't usually bother anybody, but they cross the road often."

Investigation is continuing into the death of a female black bear shot and killed with a bow and arrow last week in Lemon Creek, said Sgt. Steve Bear, a fish and wildlife protection trooper. "We are following up some leads. We have nothing solid - no witnesses coming forward," Bear said.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.

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