Sitka wildlife officials are warning about a possibly wounded bear in the Starrigavan area.
According to police dispatch reports, a resident at the far end of Halibut Point Road fired three rounds from a .40-caliber handgun at a bear in his driveway late Monday night (5-13-14).
Earlier the same evening, the bear had killed and eaten one of his three dogs.
Alaska Department of Fish & Game biologist Phil Mooney says he and Fish & Wildlife troopers spent four hours in the vicinity searching for the bear on Tuesday, but found no sign of the animal, or any blood trail.
Searchers used a Forward-Looking Infrared Radar to try and locate the bear. The device can detect the heat signature of living animals.
Mooney says that if the bear had been fatally injured, searchers probably would have been able to locate it by smell.
Mooney believes that if the bear is alive, it will likely return to the area, since it has found relatively easy food. Based on photographs of the animal taken in the days prior to the dog attack, and by the six-inch paw prints, he thinks it is a 3 or 4-year old.
He does not fault the Halibut Point homeowners for their actions. He says their yard was clean, and the bear was not there for garbage. He says it was simple “dumb luck” that the dog and bear met outside the home.
Mooney has recommended several strategies to deter the animal in the future, including electric fencing around their porch and chicken coop.