Troopers: Kodiak man reports being mauled by bear

A 71-year-old Kodiak man said he was mauled by a bear while running on a mountain trail over the weekend, Alaska State Troopers said.

The troopers, in an online post, said the man, identified as Donald Zimmerman, contacted local police around 11:35 a.m. Sunday. He was met by authorities responding to his call about a half-mile from the road on a trail and taken to a hospital in stable condition, troopers said.

Nathan Svoboda, an area wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said it was his understanding the brown bear attacked Zimmerman from behind and left the scene before returning. Zimmerman’s use of a bear repellant spray when the animal returned “quite possibly could have been the thing that saved his life.”

Svoboda said evidence suggested this was a defensive attack versus a predatory attack. Defensive attacks often are a matter of “bad timing, wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time sort of thing,” he said.

The Kodiak Police Department asked residents Sunday to avoid Pillar Mountain trails near a gravel pit area, warning of an “aggressive bear.”

Authorities searched the area but did not find the bear. Svoboda said signs warning people of the bear activity were posted in the area.