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Grizzly bear killed by hunters in front of 'disgusted' wildlife watchers in Alaska

October 7, 2009 | 10:37 am

A grizzly bear fishes in the Kenai River before being shot and killed by hunters. Hunters in Alaska appear to have exercised extremely poor judgment by shooting and killing a grizzly bear alongside Alaska's Kenai River in full view of wildlife watchers.

A lengthy account of the incident was posted today on the Redoubt Reporter website.

According to an eyewitness, about a dozen people were watching the bear swimming and fishing from various points on Sterling Highway.

After a while, two men got out of a car wearing  camouflage clothing and carrying rifles. They proceeded toward the bear.

Pamela Locke told the Redoubt Reporter: "The lady walking with me stopped them and said, ‘You’re not going to shoot that bear, are you?’ They were kind of smiling and laughing and said, ‘Yeah, we are, if it crosses the highway.’ And she said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'"

Locke said the men shot the bear after it had crossed the highway, into legal hunting territory, as it was fleeing up a hillside. Hunting from or even close to highways is illegal, and the case is under investigation.

Larry Lewis, a wildlife technician with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, said it is not illegal to shoot in front of other people, but he implied this seems to have been a clear violation of hunter ethics.

“In our hunter education program and in our general dealings with hunters, we try to discourage people from taking game in a manner that can disturb others,” said Lewis, who is also president of the Kenai Peninsula Chapter of Safari Club International.

Said Locke: “I’m just disgusted at the whole situation. My family supports ethical hunting, but this is anything but sportsmanlike. And any decent hunter knows if you don’t have a clean shot, you don’t shoot. It took at least five shots to put it down, aiming up the hill while it was running away."

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: A grizzly bear fishes in the Kenai River before being shot and killed by hunters. Credit: Pamela Locke