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Eagle River man charged with illegally shooting a brown bear cub

Alaska Dispatch

Darwin Nelson, 37, of Eagle River, has been charged with illegally killing a brown bear after troopers say he shot a brown bear cub that was rummaging through his trash.

On August 1, Alaska Wildlife Troopers in Anchorage were notified by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson conservation officials that a brown bear cub had been shot on their property, from the Eagle River side of the fence, the day before.

Further investigation found that Nelson had pursued two brown bear cubs after they got into his unsecured garbage on Targhee Loop in Eagle River. Nelson told troopers that the bears ran off with bags of his trash, ducked under the fence and began eating it. Nelson followed them and picked up some of the trash, then returned with a shotgun. Aiming through the fence, he shot one of the cubs from about 10 to 15 feet away.

Although it could not be determined whether the cub died from the injuries, a “substantial amount” of blood was present at the scene. The investigation found that Nelson had not met the Defense of Life and Property requirements that are necessary for the lawful shooting a bear in a closed area.

Nelson received a summons to appear in Anchorage District Court at a later date.