Hiker Shoots Grizzly Bear in Denali

Park officials investigate self-defense claims against a threatening grizzly bear

Memorial Day weekend got off to a scary start on Friday for a pair of hikers in Denali. A pair of backpackers encountered bear sign on a trail near Tattler Creek, and when the bear emerged from the brush and charged one of them, the other fired nine rounds towards the bear.

The bear retreated and the hikers turned back to report the incident to park officials. When a park search crew returned, they found the dead bear about 100 yards from the shooting zone.

The shooting raises a few interesting legal questions. The controversial law allowing guns in national parks went into effect in February; however, it still remains illegal to discharge a firearm in the bounds of the park. After retrieving the dead bear by helicopter and questioning the hikers, park officials are still deciding whether the shooting was justified.The shooter, a woman, hasn't been identified.

Park spokesperson Kris Fister said that this was the first bear shot within the original bounds of the park "in decades," and human-bear interactions with casualties are quite rare in Denali.

Stay tuned to the Daily Dirt for updates.

—Ted Alvarez

via Fairbanks Daily News-Miner