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Fairbanks hunter escapes Kodiak grizzly attack with scalp wound

Craig Medred
Doug Lindstrand photo

Fairbanks hunter Rod Moretz apparently shot the trophy brown bears of his dreams on Kodiak Island Saturday, then became entangled in far more of an adventure than any hunter wants, according to reports from Alaska State Troopers.

They indicate the 48-year-old hunter was approaching his kill when another bear bolted out of a den about 100 yards away and charged him at full bore. "Moretz tried to evade the charging bear,'' a trooper dispatch said, "(but) the bear pounced on him and both rolled down a hill approximately 50 feet.''

In the tumble, the bear lost contact with the hunter. When they stopped rolling, it jumped and ran back to the den. Further details are sketchy.

Moretz, an engineer with the Bureau of Land Management in the Interior Alaska city and an active player in the local hockey league, could not be reached. Troopers said he was bitten on the head by the bear, but only suffered what were described as "minor scalp injuries.'' His 13-year-old son bandaged him up at the scene, according to troopers.

They then went about skinning the senior Moretz's trophy. No attempt was made to shoot the bear which had charged. Nor, apparently, was there any call for help. The Moretzs apparently waited for their flight from Andrew Air, an air tax charter service out of Kodiak, to arrive on Sunday. They then flew back to Kodiak with the trophy, took the hide to the local office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to be sealed as required by law, and reported what had happened. Then the elder Moretz finally went to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center to have his wounds examined and treated. He was due back at work Tuesday in Fairbanks.

Contact Craig Medred at craig(at)alaskadispatch.com