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Juneau veteran wants to feed bears - and for us to leave him alone

Craig Medred
Aaron Jansen illustration

Another resident of Alaska's capital city appears to be in trouble for trying to make friends with the bears. Less than a year after 65-year-old Arnold Hanger pleaded guilty to charges of feeding bears to lure them within range of his cameras, Alaska State Troopers says they've cited a 60-year-old former Vietnam veteran for feeding bears in Juneau.

Keith Fuller, according to a trooper report, started putting food out in May to attract bears. He was warned then that feeding bears is against the law in Alaska. But, troopers contend, the warning didn't stop the feeding.

"In early July new reports were received by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game of bear problems in the same neighborhood," according to the agency. "Fuller was again contacted … and additional food scraps, such as fish parts, noodles and frozen shellfish, were found in the yard." He was issued a $310 citation. It is not Fuller's first brush with the law in Juneau. He got in trouble for camping illegally in the woods above the city in 2009.

"It's a way of life. Some people, they enjoy living outdoors," Fuller told the Juneau Empire at the time. Authorities didn't like it and razed his camp. "It hurts," he said then. "I don't bother no one. I keep my camp clean. I hate to be bothered by people and it's very devastating to have yourself uprooted."

Fuller, according to the Empire, has a college degree in architectural engineering and in 2009 was working at the Salvation Army. But he doesn't appear to be big on all of society's rules.

"Leave us alone,'' the newspaper quoted him saying. "Leave me alone, I mean."

Contact Craig Medred at craig(at)alaskadispatch.com