Local News

Brown bear shot in black bear territory

Hunters have killed another brown bear on Mitkof Island south of Petersburg.

For the most part, only smaller black bears call the island home, but in the last few decades, sightings and encounters with their larger brown cousins have become more frequent on Mitkof.

31-year-old Derek Gibb of Petersburg was hunting moose on October 6th and says he was stalked by what he thought was a black bear. Gibb was on a side road near Blind Slough with a friend and shot the menacing bruin. It wasn’t until after he and two others tracked the wounded animal and killed it that they started noticing some characteristics more typical of a brown bear.

Mike Corl and Derek Gibb, photo courtesy of Derek Gibb


Gibb told the story to KFSK’s Joe Viechnicki last week.


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It’s not the first brown bear shot on Mitkof Island. Another hunter killed a brown bear that charged him on the south end of the island in the mid-1990s.

Gibb was cited by the State Trooper since there’s no hunting season for brown bears on the island. Since he did report the kill, Trooper Cody Litster says he’ll recommend in court the citation be reduced to a violation. He also had to turn over to the bear hide and meat to law enforcement.

Gibb was a state champion swimmer for Petersburg High School and still holds the high school record in the 100 free set back in 1998.

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