The runner had apparently made it to the halfway point turnaround and was on his way down when he used his phone to text a family member at 12:37 p.m. that he was being chased by a bear, Precosky said. The family member approached Precosky, who was then in the middle of handing out awards.
“I went off and talked to him about it, trying to get a straight story,” Precosky said. “He was very shaken and had received this communication.”
A search was launched immediately, Precosky said. The family member had GPS coordinates from the missing runner’s phone that helped guide searchers to the area where his phone was. But the searchers, including runners that were part of the race, couldn’t get closer.
The runner was able and willing to carry a cell phone. He could easily have carried a Ruger LCP II, which weighs about as much. Whether or not that would have been “enough gun” for a black bear is not entirely germane. It would have given him a chance.
After the runner was killed, the bear stayed near the body and would not allow rescuers near it. The bear was finally driven off when a park ranger shot it in the face with a shotgun slug, wounding it.
Black bears usually break off an attack when serious resistance is encountered. Black bears in predatory mode do not want to risk a serious wound. For a wild animal, a serious wound is often fatal.
There was a time when most people in Alaska knew that wild places had risks associated with them. It should have been a defensive gun use. From adn.com
“This young man didn’t do anything wrong. He was just in the wrong place,” Crockett said. “You can’t predict which bear is going to be predatory.”
Exactly so. Which is why prudent people carry arms. A hiker killed a charging brown bear on the same trail in 2013, with an AK74.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.