Alaskan Hunter Gets Mauled by Brown Bear After Mistaking it for Dead

by Jon D. B.

It’s legal to hunt certain brown bears during designated seasons in Alaska. But hunting a fellow predator always puts your own life on the line.

This past Thursday morning, an Alaskan hunting party set out to the Ship Creek area of Anchorage to hunt one of the most dangerous animals on the planet: a brown bear. And a brown bear they did find.

Things did not go as planned, however. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), a man in the hunting party shot and downed a brown bear, believing it to be dead.

But the bear was very much alive. Once approached, the large adult brown bear “got up and charged him,” a local area wildlife biologist Cory Stantorf tells Anchorage Daily News. The bear proceeded to maul the hunter, injuring him. Yet others in the hunting party shot at the bear and were able to cease its attack, likely saving their compatriot’s life.

Amazingly, Stantorf says the hunter was then able to make his way out of the area without calling for emergency rescue. His entire party made it out of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) land they were on, where hunting brown bears is legal, without further incident.

The hunter would need treatment at a hospital for his injuries, as he did receive wounds. Stantorf declined further details on the hunter’s injuries or their severity for the local paper, however.

As for the bear, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is unsure if the bear died from the initial – or further – gunshot wounds from the incident. The bruin was first shot between 9 and 10 AM, and the remaining hunting party would set back out to find the bear later that day.

Anchorage has had Several Maulings by Brown Bears in 2022

The hunter, whose name is not public, isn’t the only Anchorage bear mauling of 2022. Several others have taken place, including one where a soldier was killed and a party member injured. During this encounter, a brown bear sow with cubs initiated a defensive attack to protect her offspring in the same JBER area in May.

Then, in August, another man was mauled after he unknowingly surprised a sow brown bear with her cub. This incident took place in the Eagle River area. His wounds required treatment in the hospital.

Another mauling would take place last month involving a woman hiking the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail of Point Woronzof. This attack, however, was by a black bear.

ADFG biologist Stantorf wants the Alaska public to know it is “important that anyone recreating outdoors in the backcountry or even in Anchorage is paying attention to their surroundings and looking for bears.” This means bears of all species.

Bear hunting seasons take place in spring and fall in some areas of Alaska, but only the fall in other areas. It is illegal to kill cubs, or females with offspring, in any area, however.