Alaska News

Brown bear shot and killed in Kodiak after it charged man

A Kodiak man shot and killed a brown bear Sunday night after it tipped a nearby trash can, returned to the area and charged him, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Nate Svoboda, Fish and Game biologist, said he met with the man Tuesday night and they "walked through the whole scenario."

Around 11:45 p.m. Sunday, the man said he was in bed when he heard a loud crash outside his window. He went outside and found a garbage container on its side. Trash covered his yard, Svoboda said.

"So the individual grabbed his pistol and started cleaning up the trash," Svoboda said. Then, "he went to go inside and out of the corner of his eye, saw a bear coming at him."

The bear was roughly 9 feet tall and started its charge at about 20 yards away. The man shot the bear by the time it moved half that distance, Svoboda said.

"It all happened in really tight quarters," he said. "He shot at it five times before it finally stopped and then once it was on the ground, it was still moving. So he shot it one more time and then it died."

Alaska State Troopers said the shooting occurred near a home off Sharatin Road in the city of Kodiak. Troopers identified the man who shot and killed the bear as Hamilton Long, 49. Fish and Game received the bear hide and skull.


"Hamilton shot and killed the bear in defense of his life at close range," troopers said.

Svoboda said he wanted to emphasize that "this particular individual did everything right."

Fish and Game says there are about 3,500 bears on the islands in the Kodiak Archipelago, or roughly three bears for every four square miles.

Svoboda said, on average, the agency records three or four bears killed in defense of life or property each year across the archipelago.

"Sometimes we'll go a couple (of) years and not have any and some years there will be a spike and we'll have five or six," he said.

Most of the incidents don't happen in the city of Kodiak, he said.

"People have done a fantastic job of trying to keep their place clean and keep their fish guts out of the trash and not put their trash out early," Svoboda said. "They're embracing the fact that they live in bear country."

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.