A bear tipped over this trash can in the Wachusetts and Peterson neighborhood on October 10, one of several sightings of bears or bear sign in the area over the last week. Officials say containing or storing garbage safely is the number one way to prevent bears from becoming habituated.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers have concluded their investigation into the shooting death of a brown bear by a 16-year-old in a Sitka neighborhood early Wednesday morning.

Sitka police received a call shortly after midnight on October 12 from a boy who reported shooting a bear outside his home in the 1400 block of Edgecumbe Drive.

According to police dispatch reports, the teen was home with an 18-year old. When the 16-year-old heard a noise, he took a .44 caliber handgun outside to investigate, was startled by the bear, and fired.

The bear ran away. Sitka Police officers subsequently recovered the carcass across the street, and stored it for the night in a department pickup truck.

Sitka Police later issued a citation for negligent feeding of game to the teenager and turned over the case to state Wildlife Troopers, who investigated it as a potential Defense of Life and Property – or DLP – which allows a resident to legally kill a bear under some circumstances. People who claim a DLP must recover the hide, skull, and claws of the animal, and turn them over to the state. KCAW spoke with trooper Kyle Ferguson, who said he investigated the case “from a wildlife perspective”– ultimately Ferguson did not issue any citations. 

Police returned the carcass to the teen’s home in the morning. The bear was skinned, and the hide and skull were turned over to the Department of Fish & Game. This was the fourth bear killed in Sitka this year.