A Kentucky man was mauled by a brown bear Thursday night at the end of a day of bear hunting on Admiralty Island, according to Alaska State Troopers.
“The guide and his client were departing where they were hunting from, heading back down to the beach where their skiff was at,” Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sgt. Aaron Frenzel said on the phone Friday afternoon.
“While coming down out of the woods, they were using headlamps, and the guide and client ran into what appears to be single bear. The bear came right at him, got a hold of the client, causing non-life threatening injuries,” he continued.
Troopers identified the client as Douglas Adkins, 57, of Jenkins, Kentucky. The name of the Juneau big game guide has not been released. The pair was brown bear hunting in Chaik Bay, just south of Angoon.
Adkins was mauled around 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Frenzel described it as a “vicious but short attack” before “the bear departed on its own.”
“Besides just yelling and trying to deter the bear verbally, there was no gun or pepper spray used,” Frenzel said.
The guide and Adkins continued down to the beach and to the guide vessel where they contacted the U.S. Coast Guard. Around 2 a.m. Friday, a Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene and transported Adkins to Juneau’s Bartlett Regional Hospital. Frenzel interviewed Adkins around 10 a.m.
Because the interaction occurred in the dark, no one could tell if the bear was a sow or boar, and there wasn’t any sign of a cub, Frenzel said.
“From what we’ve gathered so far, we put it towards more of a startled response attack. It was dark out. I don’t know what was being made for noise ahead of time. We don’t feel like it was a predatory-type thing. It could’ve been a protection of cubs, but we’re leaning more towards a single bear startled response,” Frenzel said.
Frenzel and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game plan on interviewing the guide when he returns to Juneau.
“Unless we hear something else, we’re not going to go down and look for the bear. Just the way the attack went — just being a quick come in, do the initial attack and then back off and leave, and not come back or anything — we’re not too concerned with this being an occurrence that will be repeated,” Frenzel said. “Right now, we’ll probably just leave it be and tell other people in the area. I think a lot of the guides already know about it already.”
Ryan Scott, regional supervisor for ADF&G Division of Wildlife Conservation, said there are salmon streams in Chaik Bay, the area where the mauling took place.
“It’s not any different than probably just about every salmon stream on Admiralty this time of year. There’s fish in the creeks, bears are fishing and so most of the coastal streams like that down near the water, they’re going to be full of bears,” he said.
As of Friday afternoon, Adkins was in the hospital in stable condition, according to Bartlett Regional Hospital spokesperson Katie Bausler. Adkins denied the Empire’s immediate request for an interview.