A hunter from Alaska is now fighting for his life after a bear he had shot landed on top of him.
28-year-old William McCormick was struck by the bear on the afternoon of September 29, after the shot animal fell down a slope at Carter Lake. McCormick, who is a soldier stationed at Alaska’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, was also hit by a rock which had become dislodged during the bear’s fall, according to police reports.
Respondents at the scene came from the Alaska State Troopers, Bear Creek Fire Department, Moose Pass Volunteer Fire Department, and LifeMed.
McCormick was taken by helicopter to a hospital in the city of Anchorage where he is now fighting for his life, having sustained ‘life-threatening injuries’.
As reported by the Department of Public Safety, McCormick had been out hunting with fellow solider, 19-year-old Zachary Tennyson, who was uninjured during the incident.
Both soldiers reportedly serve with the base’s 4th Brigade Battle Workforce, 25th Infantry Division. McCormick serves as a specialist, while Tennyson is a private first class as reported by CBC.
According to the Department of Public Safety dispatch:
On 9/29/18 at approximately 1208 hours, Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center received notification via an in reach device about two individuals in distress above Carter Lake.
The pair were hunting in the area and shot a bear above them on a ridge. The bear rolled down the slope dislodging rocks in the process.
One hunter, identified as William McCormick, age 28 out of JBER, was injured when he was struck by both a rock and the bear.
His hunting partner, Zachary Tennyson, age 19 of JBER, was uninjured. Alaska State Troopers, Bear Creek Fire Department, Moose Pass Volunteer Fire Department, and Lifemed all responded to the scene. McCormick was hand carried to a Lifemed helicopter and transported to Anchorage Providence with life threatening injuries.
Here's hoping the bear survived.
— Peter Singh (@Smarmalat) October 1, 2018
It has not been stated whether or not the bear has been killed, or what type of bear it is. There are several species of bear in Alaska; with an estimated 30,000 brown bears and 100,000 black bears.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, this is the time of year when bears are ‘waddling fat just prior to denning’:
At this time most mature males weigh between 500 and 900 lbs (180 – 410 kg) with extremely large individuals weighing as much as 1,400 lbs (640 kg). Females weigh half to three-quarters as much.
The National Park Service is currently planning to relax hunting regulations in the national parkland of Alaska, overturning practices which were banned by the park service back in 2015.
Under these relaxed regulations, a hunter would be able to use a dog to hunt black bears; harvest brown bears over bait; take black bears over bait; and take any black bear, including cubs and females with cubs, using artificial light at den sites.
According to the National Parks Traveller, Alaska regional director for the parks advocacy group Jim Adams said:
This assessment clearly states that wildlife viewing opportunities on national parklands are likely to be diminished. It admits that baiting bears on these lands could increase conflicts, if bears become habituated to human food,
And it admits that the new rule would reduce natural diversity on national preserves. With such clearly identified conflicts, why is the Park Service proceeding with this unnecessary, wasteful process of replacing commonsense regulations with war on park bears and wolves?
— Kathie Anderson (@Detguza) October 1, 2018
Almost 1,500 brown bears each year are hunted in Alaska.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.