Outside Anchorage Alaska an organized trail race ended in tragedy last weekend.  A 16-year-old had reached the turn around point and was apparently descending the trail when he encountered a black bear.  Black bear attacks are extremely rare, especially those ending in a fatality, but this encounter turned into a worst case scenario.

The race, in it’s 29th year, had never seen anything like this happen before.  While the youth was heading back down the trail he text a family member that he was being chased by a bear.  The family member approached the event organizer at the bottom of the hill and search was organized and launched.  The boys phone GPS led searchers to him and found that the bear was still in the area of the body in a steep canyon about 500 yards off the trail.  A park ranger shot the bear before it would run off and the body could be recovered.

Then in an unrelated attack the following Monday, a mine contract employee 300 miles northeast of Anchorage was also fatally mauled by a black bear and another employee injured.

Wildlife officials put bear attacks in two categories:  Defensive and predatory.  Most attacks are defensive like surprising a sow with cubs.  Officials are classifying these two attacks as predatory which make them extremely rare and happening in consecutive days makes it even more rare.

Many of the areas we hunters roam have bears in some sort of abundance.  Remember to be safe and take precautions like bear spray.


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