Friday, October 26, 2012

What to do if you shoot a bear

First of all, sorry about yesterday's post: the link to the newspaper did not work because it needed a  password.... And I am not willing to give you mine.

The picture won't upload from my I-phone without an app that I haven't downloaded

But maybe it was Divine Intervention which didn't want a picture of that bear. So, I will leave it out.

In answer to the question, "What happens after you shoot a bear on your property?" The short answer: lots of work for you!

Alaska law says that it is OK to shoot a bear to protect your life and property. But, it is YOUR job to skin the animals and then take the fur to the State's  Wildlife Department for them to forward it to Anchorage. Then at the time of the Fur Rondy ( in March) the State auctions off the furs and keeps the money!

If you are a betting man, you can buy a Road System Bear Hunting License for somewhere between $ 25 - 80 ( I haven't bought one ) and then, if you kill a bear within so many feet of the roads of Kodiak, you can keep the fur. But you have to shoot it either in the Spring or Fall bear hunting season.

I don't think anyone buys one with those plans because we don't go hunting bears close to town. Incidentally, I hear most bears stay within 5 miles of their home, most of the time. And, not many live close to town. For some reason , we've had an unusual number of "visits" this year.

But if one comes to you or your house and threatens, you just have to protect yourself... Whether you are getting to keep the fur or not. I think many homes keep a shotgun with 3 inch slugs, just in case. And in the Spring, the local shooter's association occasionally brings out to the shooting range a poster bear on wheels . As volunteers pull it as fast as they can (20 mph at the most) the shooter tries to shoot it as quickly as possible. I was surprised to see that the "bear" was on top of one shooter before he got the safety opened on his gun. Imagine if it had been a real bear charging at their 30-35 mph speed!

Real encounters don't happen often. In the past 5 years, this is only the second bear shot by a regular person at home. I think there have been at least 3 shot by officers of the law because they were problem bears that didn't seem to learn  to keep away from repeated close contact with humans. 

Incidentally, the bear shot at someone's home 4 -5 years ago, was actually refrigerated and skinned at the Kodiak State Fair, as part of an educational presentation. Took 2 hours, but much of that was explanation of what they were doing. I hear it takes closer to one hour or even less, if it is raining or getting close to dark. You do NOT want to let another bear smell the carcass as you work on it, or he might fight you for the meat.

Well, this might not have been a story you like, but at least you know the " rest of the story".


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