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Groundskeeper charged with attempting to poison brown bears

Wildlife troopers say they’ve charged the Sea Mountain Golf Course groundskeeper for attempting to poison brown bears. The poison could be what killed two dogs that died after visiting the area.

One month ago, the bears tore holes in the golf course. At the request of golf course groundskeeper, Kevin Taranoff, the Department of Fish and Game set a bear trap.

But, troopers say Taranoff ended up taking matters into his own hands. Jake Abbott is an Alaska Wildlife Trooper in Sitka.

“At that time the grounds keeper had made some comments along the lines of if you don’t deal with the bear I will. So upon hearing that I became suspicious that this person had mostly likely attempted to poison the bears as a way of dealing with the bear problem.”

Abbott says, the poison used to target the bears is thought to be the same anti-freeze mix that killed two dogs earlier this month. Both dogs had roamed the Sea Mountain Golf Course the night they died.
Abbott says Taranoff told several Sea Mountain employees about his attempt to poison the bears. After the dog deaths and conversations with employees Abbott filed charges.

“Because of that I found that I had sufficient probable cause to charge him with one count of unlawful method and means – attempting to take big game by use of a poison.”

Abbott issued Taranoff the citation Wednesday night.

“He subsequently admitted that he was the person who had tried to poison the brown bears.”

Taranoff is facing a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine, or one year in jail, or both. He will be required to appear in court. The golf course managers couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

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