A man hiking on a popular Turnagain Arm trail near the Seward Highway killed a charging brown bear with a semi-automatic AK-74 rifle Sunday, prompting Chugach State Park rangers to close a section of the popular trail.
The hiker, who has not been identified by Alaska State Troopers, had set out from the Rainbow trail head at Milepost 108 of the highway Sunday morning, said Tom Crockett, a park ranger. He was near the first inlet viewpoint, about a half-mile up the trail toward McHugh Creek, when he spotted the bear. It was on the edge of a birch and spruce forest with abundant blueberries and serviceberries.
Crockett and an Alaska State Trooper who responded found the man in the same spot on the trail where he encountered the bear. He wasn’t willing to walk out alone.
“He told me he’s never been so scared in his life,” he said.
Crockett estimated the bear weighed 500 to 600 pounds. The animal bore marks of an eventful life: He had a “big hulking” scar running over the top of his head, likely from a tussle with another bear.
No laundry detergent exists that would be powerful enough save my pants after such an encounter. This guy is extremely lucky that the 5.45mm bullets penetrated deeply enough to kill such a monster before it killed him.
I’d prefer take a full-auto .50 Beowulf on such a hike, thank you very much.
Note: I always think my voice sounds more Southern than it really is when recorded, but I may be wrong.