Graybeard Outdoors banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Couple killed by bear near Hulahula River

By JEANNETTE J. LEE, Associated Press Writer

Published: June 26th, 2005
Last Modified: June 26th, 2005 at 07:49 PM


ANCHORAGE (AP) - Two people camping along the Hulahula River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were killed by a grizzly bear, officials said Sunday.


Officials discovered the bodies and an unused firearm in a tent at a campsite near the river.

The couple, whose names were not released, was believed to be in their late 50s or early 60s, North Slope Borough police said. They were from Anchorage and had been on a recreational rafting trip down the river, Alaska State Troopers said.

The victims were in their tent when the attack occurred, according to Tim DeSpain, spokesperson for Alaska State Troopers.

The campsite was clean, with food stored in bear-proof containers.

"The initial scene indicates that it was a predatory act by the bear," DeSpain said.

The bear was at the site Saturday night when public safety officials arrived. They shot and killed the animal, but did not remove it.

A rafter had seen the animal at the site and notified authorities in Kaktovik.

The couple's injuries were consistent with a bear attack and there were no signs of foul play, said Kelly Alzaharna, a lieutenant with the North Slope Borough Police Department.

There were no other people at the campsite, which was about 12 miles up river from Kaktovik, a community of about 300 on Barter Island and the only village in the refuge.

Officials are not sure when the couple was killed.

The bear's height and weight are unknown because wildlife officials has not yet retrieved its remains, Alzaharna said. The refuge contains grizzly, polar and black bears.

Cathy Harms, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks, confirmed the bear was a grizzly.

Fish and Game officials were alerted at 4 a.m. Sunday, Harms said.

Wildlife officials were taking the bear carcass to Fairbanks on Sunday for a necropsy, which would confirm whether the bear attacked the couple, Harms said.

Alaska State Troopers are retrieving the bodies from the campsite.

Authorities said they would release the victims' names after contacting family members.

The Hulahula River begins at the end of a glacier in the Romanzof Mountains at the eastern end of the Brooks Range.

It flows west and north about 100 miles to Camden Bay in the Beaufort Sea east of Barter Island.

The river is popular for wildlife viewing, rafting and kayaking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
This is always sad to see. I dont mean to sound insensitive, but this goes to show that no matter how prepared you "think" you are, you're still in the wild. I know that most of the time I'm not as cautious as this couple was. And I should be. I just keep wondering why the heck neither of them got a shot off...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,461 Posts
AK|Bandit,

I just keep wondering why the heck neither of them got a shot off...
I wonder what type of firearm it was? The only mistake I can see that the couple may have made is no alarm system was set up around the camp. I don't know if one of those electric fences would have made any difference. My two brothers in-law tried an electric fence(powered by a Honda generator) to keep the bears out of their camp and it didn't stop them at all. Lawdog
:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,346 Posts
After 27 years in Alaska, hunting Kodiak almost every fall, I saw plenty of bears up close. In most cases there, getting into trouble happened when hunters were careless; food accessible at camp, dead game stored near camp, wandering around while "hunting" not paying attention to your surroundings, etc. I was false charged several times but thankfully never had to kill a bear I didn't want to. I also never had a bear in camp - pitched the tent 20 yards away from the cooking area, put the dead deer 20 feet up in the trees, didn't cook bacon, etc. Most who had bear in their camps didn't follow comon-sense rules.

But the barren ground grizzley are different than brownies - the bear on the North Slope don't live there year round, in fact until the oil field development few ever got close to the coast. They live a harder life than the southern coastal bears and are more aggressive (if smaller).

Based upon my experiences in Alaska, reading a news account is hardly the best way to find out what actually happened. It sounds like they had a clean camp, but... Or, knowing how some cheechakos act, they could have had a small stove running in the tent for warmth and died of CO poisoning, then fed upon later by the omnivorous bear. It's cold on the ground this time of year on the Slope...traveling light in a raft means they may not have had good sleeping bags. Conjecture of course, we may never know what happened, it is still tragic.

Doesn't this happen a little too often there in Alaska?
Doesn't child molestation happen a little too often in California? :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Lawdog said:
The only mistake I can see that the couple may have made is no alarm system was set up around the camp.
An alarm system...Hmmm. I've never really thought about that. Even if it were just something to alert you in the middle of the night. Instead of waking up with a bear right on top of you. Like say...Four stakes about a foot or so off the ground around the perimeter of your campsite. Just rig up some thin cord to the posts with a bell on each side. Hey! Those bear bells might be good for something afterall! :-D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,558 Posts
Last fall while floating in the Brooks Range, we had two or three bears in camp every night. They walked around, sniffed things, then left. We would hear them nosing around at night, and see their tracks in the morning. These were mostly Grizzlies, few Blacks. All our food was hung up high, in trees. We never cooked in camp, to keep cooking oders away from the tents and gear. We usually ate our evening meal about two hours before we stopped for the night.

If we had set up a fence, or an alarm system of some type, we would have spend all night resetting it. As many bears as we had visiting us, we would have gotten tired and left it down.

Having had a Grizzly knock my tent down and walk on me, I understand how this could have happened. Things happen so fast, and they would not have been able to get to their gun. I had my gun in my hand, but was unable to shoot because my arms were pinned under me.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top