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Fairbanks man escapes Kodiak bear attack with minor injuries

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Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 9:33 am

FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks hunter who killed a brown bear on Kodiak Island was attacked by another brown bear as he walked up to the dead animal on Saturday.

Miraculously, Rodd A. Moretz, 48, suffered only minor scalp injuries when the bear burst out of a den and bit him in the head.

The attack occurred at around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday after Moretz had shot a bear on south Kodiak Island, according to an Alaska State Troopers report.

Moretz was approaching the dead bear when he walked past a bear den about 100 yards away from the animal he shot. Another brown bear burst out of the den as Moretz walked by and charged him.

Moretz tried to evade the charging bear, but the bear pounced on him and both rolled down a hill approximately 50 feet, the trooper report said. The bear and Moretz separated during the fall and once they stopped rolling, the bear broke off its attack and ran back to the den.

Moretz, meanwhile, escaped without firing a shot. His 13-year-old son, who had fallen in alders while trying to escape the charging bear, was not injured and assisted his father by bandaging his wound, troopers said.

Troopers and Fish and Game officials suspect the bear that charged Moretz may have been a sow with cubs in the den, according to troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters. The bear Moretz killed was a male.

Moretz was able to skin and salvage the bear he killed and was picked up by a Kodiak flight service company on Sunday. Moretz went to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to file paperwork for his kill before going to a Kodiak hospital for treatment, the trooper report said.

A message left at Moretz’s home phone was not returned Monday and efforts to contact him were unsuccessful.

Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

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