News and Events

Alaska’s Skilak Lake Area Sees Second Bear Attack in Three Weeks

Hiker attacked after dog chases bears, authorities say.

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A brown bear bit a hiker who was walking his dog near Alaska’s Skilak Lake on June 29, less that two weeks after two sleeping campers were attacked in their tent by a bear in the same area.

According to a Facebook post by the Kenai National Wildlife Regufe, a mother bear bit the solo hiker after his dog chased the bear and her two cubs. Alaska State Troopers reported that the bear bit the hiker on the arm, at which point the hiker entered the Kenai River. The bear followed the hiker into the water and bit him again on the shoulder. The hiker was carrying bear spray, but was unable to deploy it in time, according to the police report. The hiker returned to his car and called 911; doctors treated him for non-life-threatening injuries at a nearby hospital. The hiker’s dog, a young border collie, ran away during the attack, but according to Facebook, may have since been found.

Officials closed the Kenai River Trail on Monday to conduct an investigation of the incident. Ranger Leah Eskelin told Yahoo Sports that the two attacks do not appear to be related.

“As always, take care in bear country to plan ahead, use caution on trails, make noise, travel in groups, maintain direct control of any pets that hike with you and be prepared to change plans if conditions are different than expected once you arrive,” Kenai National Wildlife Refuge officials reminded the pubic on Facebook.

Bear attacks are rare, but they do happen. When hiking in areas where bears are active, consider leaving dogs at home or keeping them on a leash and under control. Read up on bear safety and always carry a deterrent and first aid supplies in the backcountry.