Eagle River man shoots, kills brown bear that mauled him

Tegan Hanlon

An Eagle River man shot and killed a brown bear sow Thursday after the animal mauled him near his home, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. 

The man, who has not been identified, said he was walking with his unleashed dogs on a dirt road off of Hiland Road, an area biologists described as well-known bear territory. His dogs wandered away and when they ran back toward the man, they were trailed by a brown bear sow, said Dave Battle, an assistant area wildlife biologist with Fish and Game.

"This is not in an Anchorage subdivision," Battle said. "This is out in the big woods." 

Battle said the sow attacked the man, who in turn fired at it three times with a .44 Magnum.

"The last time, I think, he got it through the lung," Battle said. "It ran back into the alders and he could hear it wheezing." 

The man's wife drove him to the hospital. Battle said he did not know the extent of the man's injuries. 

Fish and Game, troopers and a park ranger located the bear carcass Thursday afternoon. Battle said the nearly 200-pound sow -- small for a brown bear -- was lactating. He said the man reported seeing a cub, but one was not found. 

This is the second brown bear attack in the area in less than a week and the fourth on the outskirts of Anchorage in just over two months.

On Sunday, a National Guard soldier was mauled by a brown bear sow defending its cubs on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The soldier was participating in a training exercise when he came across the bear in the woods. He dropped to the ground and didn't move as the bear approached, bit and swatted him.

About two months ago, another bear attack occurred on JBER. A brown bear sow with two cubs ran out of the woods near an unpaved road where Jessica Gamboa was jogging. The woman suffered serious injuries. 

Runner Suzanne Knudsen was attacked by a sow with two nearly grown cubs in early July in Bird Valley, south of Anchorage. She was flown to the hospital with serious injuries.