ADF&G Biologist Steve Bethune prepares to skin a brown bear outside of the ADF&G office on Monday. The bear was shot early Sunday. (Photo/Mat Pallister)

Sitka Police shot a brown bear near the intersection of Monastery and Sirstad Street early Sunday morning (7-24-22). 

Police received a call shortly before midnight on Saturday reporting a bear in the residential area. Fish and Game Biologist Steve Bethune received a call from officers around 1 a.m. Sunday morning. Officers told Bethune that they’d shot the bear, which was digging in a trash can and behaving aggressively.

In an interview with KCAW, Bethune said the bear was a mature male, and weighed 530 pounds. It’s the first bear killed in Sitka this year.

2021 was a record breaking year for bear killings in Sitka–last year 14 bears were euthanized- more than double any year since 1980. It prompted the Sitka Assembly to reconvene a “bear task force” in an attempt to address increasing conflict between bears and humans in the community. 

Bethune says he hopes he won’t have to respond to many more bear dispatch calls this year, and adds that the best way for an individual to prevent bears from becoming habituated is by securing household garbage.