Wolf Song of Alaska News

Bear Feeder's Actions Could Lead to Someone Being Mauled or Killed

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / April 21, 2007

Thank you for the excellent April 15 article "Bear man," regarding Charlie Vandergaw. It was a real public service because it pointed out two extremely important points.

It is hard to decide which is more frightening: that a science teacher like Vandergaw, who presumably knew that feeding and therefore habituating bears is dangerous both for the bears and for humans, has fed bears for two decades, or that a former Chugach State Park chief ranger admitted, according to your reporting, that he did not want to learn more after hearing rumors of this practice. You report that he "felt that as a law enforcement officer he would have a responsibility to act if he knew exactly what was going on." I cannot decide just which one of them is less responsible than the other. Some choice.

I live on the Kenai, where we have lots of bears, and my neighbors and I are careful not to habituate bears to garbage or to bird feeders. If it were necessary for me to kill a bear in defense of life or property I expect I'd be filling out lots of forms and justifying my actions to avoid a serious fine.

Vandergaw will hopefully be more inconvenienced if a bear mauls or kills someone because he is an irresponsible fool.

---- Bill Vogel / Soldotna

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