ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Furs from automotive accidents, poaching and other illegal methods are confiscated and auctioned off by the state each year as part of the Fur Rondy festivities.
Brian Johnson fills the role of "fur manager" for the state's Hide and Horn Auction, put on with volunteer assistance from the Alaska Trappers Association each year.
"We get these hides from fish and game department, they are either from defense of life cases, they might've been hit by a car... or hunted illegally," Johnson said.
The auction is a great chance to score a good deal on furs. More than 150 pieces were up for bidding this weekend, including 85 bear skins.
Skip Black, a hunter from the Anchorage area, was after a particular one of those skins. He said he had a run-in with a 9-foot-tall brown bear on the Kenai Peninsula last summer, but the legal hunting season for that species had ended two weeks prior.
"He charged me like a freight train from about 40 yards," Black said.
When the bear finally dropped, he said, it was only 10 feet away.
With the season out, Black contacted the state troopers and the Department of Fish and Game to declare the kill as and act of defense of his life and property.
Once the bear was turned over to the state, they let Black know that he might have a chance to purchase its fur at this year's auction.
"That's why I'm here today," he said, "to try to get him back."
Apart from the bear skins, this year's auction featured a wide variety of other furs, including but not limited to sheep, coyote, river otter and beaver. There were also many different types of antlers from moose, caribou, and sheep up for grabs.
Most of the proceeds from the event go back to the state's wildlife programs, with a small portion going to the Alaska Trapper's Association.
If you missed it, you'll have another chance on Saturday, March 2nd, at the Trappers Association's Annual Fur Auction, which will feature more than 1600 pieces on the auction block. That event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The auction area is located in Downtown Anchorage at the corner of 3rd Ave. and E St.