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Hiker Bitten By Animal

Gates Of The Arctic National Park and Preserve

National Park News

A Glennallen man was bitten on the hand, reportedly by a bear, during a backpacking trip in the park last week. On July 16th, Kurt Skoog, 55, reported that he was in his tent at about 2:30 a.m. when an unseen animal struck the outside of the tent. Skoog raised his hand against the tent, and the animal took his hand in its mouth and held it for a few seconds; when Skoog attempted to pull his hand back, the animal bit. He recounted that the animal left after about 30 seconds while Skoog “played dead” in the tent. He then heard the animal cross the creek and depart from the area. Skoog was camping along Easter Creek, west of Anaktuvuk Pass, in the Brooks Range. Skoog packed his gear and began hiking out, contacting NPS staff at Agiak Lake about a dozen miles away from the incident. He declined assistance, and continued hiking to Anaktuvuk Pass, more than 30 miles to the east, where he received medical treatment on July 19th. He then flew to Fairbanks where he was treated at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, National Park Service staff are investigating, and will try to determine if the animal that bit Skoog was indeed a bear; tracks at Easter Creek did not provide a clear identification, Skoog said. Bear-resistant food containers are required in Gates of the Arctic, and are loaned for free at NPS ranger stations in park gateway communities. Skoog had most of his food in an approved container. He may have had some food outside the container, but the animal did not obtain any food.


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