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Alaska Deer Hunters Fend Off Attack by 5 Brown Bears

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Alaska Deer Hunters Fend Off Attack by 5 Brown Bears

Bear attacks, even near the famed Kodiak area, are highly uncommon.

The attack occurred last Tuesday on Sally Island where 68-year-old Michael Snowden was hunting with his son-in-law, Jeff Ostrin. According to the Alaska Dispatch, the two men were on their sixth day of annual week-long hunting trip, and had managed to harvest a deer earlier that morning. The animal was gutted and the two hunters began carrying it through the dense brush back to shore, where the rest of their party waited for them on the Mary J. Less than a mile from the coast, the hunters decided to take take a rest before leaving the island. Unbeknownst to Snowden and Ostrin, they had actually been spotted by the hunters on board the Mary J with the help of binoculars, and they had been trying frantically to alert the two hunters of the bears that had been following their trail.

The hunters aboard the fishing vessel recalled seeing at least five bears—including a sow and two large cubs about three years old—in their vicinity and closing in. They tried to radio Snowden and Ostrin, as well as fire shots into the air to grab their attention, but the pair had their radio off and thought the gunshots were from other deer hunters. The well-armed hunting party decided to leave the ship and warn the two men in person, but they were already too late by the time they arrived.

“The bear kind of exploded out of the brush,” Ostrin said. “We couldn’t even see it coming. It went straight for Mike, and it knocked him down and bit onto his leg and started shaking its head and dragging Mike around on the ground quite a bit.”

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