An Eagle River man walked away from a bear attack by fending it off with a gun, according to state wildlife officials.
Around 1 p.m. Thursday the unidentified man was walking along Eagle River Trail, a private road leading to his home, when his dogs sprinted ahead out of sight.
Moments later the dogs came rushing back with a brown bear sow and a cub on their heels.
The bear turned attention away from the canines to the man, chomping his upper arm and hand, but he was able to draw his handgun and fired three rounds into the bear.
His injuries were minor enough that he declined ambulance service and instead was driven to the hospital by his wife, according to Chugach State Park Ranger Tom Crockett, and the bear was found dead by a group of wildlife officials.
While this incident ended without debilitating injuries or loss of life, Crockett said it serves as a reminder for people who frequent the area.
"Be ready for an encounter, be ready to retreat, be ready to stand your ground, whatever the occasion calls for," Crockett said.
Above is a photo of the bear killed by a man defending himself. Wildlife officials say the sow was a relatively small 200 pounds.
Part of what contributed to this incident was the loose dogs, according to Jessy Coltrane, a wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
While dogs can help keep bears away by barking and alerting their owners when danger is near, Coltrane said it all depends on how a dog acts if it comes across a bear.
"The biggest risk with a dog is if they run ahead and provoke a bear then very often as soon as they feel threatened they run back to you, because they feel safe with you," Coltrane said. "So they bring the bears back."
With fish currently running in a nearby scenic stream that often draws hikers, Crockett said it is important to remember the basics: make noise, travel in groups, pay close attention when in bear country.
Berry patches, bear scat, kill sites and anything else that suggests a bear may be near are the biggest red flags, Crockett said.
The attack is the second in the area in less than a week.
Sgt. Lucas Wendeborn of the Alaska Army National Guard was mauled by a brown bear Sunday during a training exercise on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. He is expected to survive his injuries.
Channel 2's Mallory Peebles contributed to this story