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Valdez Police Department
Monday July 3rd, 2017 :: 12:49 p.m. AKDT


WARNING: Wounded brown bear in the area near Valdez Gold Fields Softball Complex and Corbin Creek Subdivision.


Valdez Police Department received notification of a wounded brown bear near the Valdez Gold Fields Softball Complex on Sunday evening and would like to warn citizens of increased danger in the area.

Several families, including young children, were camping at the fields during the annual Valdez July Magic Softball Tournament.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. Sunday, Valdez Police Dispatch received notification from an individual camping on the south side of the softball complex that a brown bear had entered the camping area. David M. Arvey, a 39-year old Fairbanks resident, fired two rounds at the bear using a hunting rifle. Reports indicate the bear was wounded, but ran into the woods behind the complex.

Two Valdez Police Officers and the Valdez Animal Control Officer responded to the scene. Officers searched the surrounding brush and wooded area. They observed a blood trail, but were unable to locate the bear.

No human injuries were reported.

Valdez Police Department cited Mr. Arvey for unlawful discharge of a firearm within City limits (Valdez Municipal Code 9.32.010). The citation requires a mandatory court appearance and may result in a fine up to $500.

The local Alaska State Wildlife Trooper seized the rifle used in the incident. The AST investigation will determine if shooting the bear was in compliance with the state of Alaska statute for defense of life and property.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game offer the following tips regarding conflicts with bears if, in spite of your best prevention efforts, a bear is causing a problem around your home and campsite:

• First make sure that you and your family are in a safe spot (inside a house or vehicle, or standing close together with 3 or more people).

• Make noise (yell, bang pans, etc.) to scare the bear.

• If the bear is not threatening, watch it and try to figure out why it is attracted to your home or camp. Fix the problem after the bear leaves. You can call the Valdez Animal Control Officer or Valdez Police Department for suggestions.

• If the bear is a threat to a person's life or your property you may either call 911 and/or shoot the bear yourself.

• Remember, if the bear has been attracted to your home or camp by improperly stored food or garbage, it can NOT be legally killed.

According to law in the state of Alaska, persons may legally take game in defense of life or property if the necessity for the taking is not brought about by harassment or provocation of the animal, by unreasonable invasion of the animal’s habitat, or by improper disposal of garbage or a similar attractive nuisance. All other practicable means to protect life and property must be exhausted before the game may be legally taken.

While game meat is considered your property, you may not kill a bear to protect it unless the meat is critical for your survival. Even in this situation you still must do everything possible to protect the meat (i.e. proper storage, scaring the scavenger, etc.) before you may kill the bear.

If you have to shoot a bear, be sure you shoot to kill - wounded bears are potentially more dangerous than healthy bears. Also be very careful of what lies beyond your intended target - stray bullets can travel over a mile and still be deadly.

Bears killed in defense of life or property belong to the state of Alaska. If you kill a bear you must remove the hide from the carcass and must also salvage the skull. You must give both the hide, with claws attached, and the skull to ADF&G and notify your local Alaska Wildlife Trooper. You are also required to fill out and submit a Defense of Life or Property Report Form questionnaire concerning the circumstances within 15 days.

Posted 07/03/2017
Corrected 07/03/2017 2:20 p.m.
Allie Ferko, Public Information Officer
City of Valdez, Alaska
(907) 834-3468 or

Valdez Police Department
212 Chenega Ave
Valdez, AK 99686

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 907-835-4560

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