A bear ate my four-wheeler

A remote mining camp outside Nome, Alaska; Photo credit USCG

Another Alaska tale that captured some global interest recently, was the man who was rescued outside of Nome by a United States Coast Guard helicopter. Reports came into Alaska first, that a bear had attacked a man on a four wheeler, the man escaped to a mining shack, only to be harassed for days by the rogue bruin. I was an immediate skeptic, but quickly moved on from the story, as I had closer things to worry about.

Now, the Nome Nugget has called out the bear tale. Enough contrary evidence has surfaced to call the ordeal into question. Since Alaskans rarely need much of an excuse to take a ride out onto the tundra, several Nome residents ventured out to the mine claim in question. The door handle on the mining shack looked to have been knocked off by a hammer, and the four wheeler looked to be in great shape, but there are obvious scratches on the trailer that were “either made by a screwdriver, or a bear with one claw.” Also, there was no bear sign to be found around the cabin.  “There’s no hair, no tracks, no scat, nothing.”

The most damming evidence found was the untouched two pounds of bacon in a cooler sitting on the four wheeler. For his part, the man who claimed to be stalked by the bear has not changed his story: “They can believe what they want,” the man told the Nugget. “I was there. I know what happened. I haven’t been that scared in a very, very long time.”

Even though the area is certainly known for its bears, Sourdough Miners in the area believe that the “victim” accidentally crashed his four wheeler, and was too embarrassed to admit it. At any rate, both Sourdough and Coast Guard officials believe the man truly needed rescuing, regardless of the actual circumstances. Another example of the Coast Guard’s vital role in Alaska.

About icefogger

Just a basic, down to Earth, laid back type of guy here, who loves the outdoors, the indoors, jazz on the turntable, a fire in the woodstove, the northern lights blazing across the sky, and the company of good friends. View all posts by icefogger

6 responses to “A bear ate my four-wheeler

  • Mitch Zeissler


    We have a grizzly bear tale of our own.

    Long story short – decades ago we tent camped in an area we weren’t supposed to on the eastern side of Glacier National Park (being young and stupid, we saw warning placards posted but chose to ignore them). We heard a mama grizzly and her cub wander through our campsite in the twilight hours just before dawn, mama clawed the outside of our pickup truck trying to get into it, then they ambled away from us looking for easier food sources.

    After the sun came up, we checked and there were adult and cub grizzly tracks all around our campsite that weren’t there when we went to sleep. The claw marks were deepest on the roof of the pickup, which we later showed to a park ranger, and he confirmed that they appeared to be grizzly marks due to the size and height that they were made.

    During all of my years of living in the West prior to that event, I’d never encountered a grizzly nor camped in an area known to be active with them. We’ve been very cautious about doing so ever since. Don’t want to become another Timothy Treadwell!

    • icefogger

      In Glacier National Park, we were camping where we were suppose to, when we woke up to a polite knock on the tent wall. It was a park ranger, and he eventually sat down & leaned against a tree to chat us up. Finally he asked if we had seen any bears. We had met a grizzly on the trail our first day. He said if we had been up an hour ago, we might have seen two more. Sure enough, two sets of bear tracks went right alongside our tent: one large set and one small. At the next campsite along the shoreline were a group of guys who had hiked down from Canada after crossing Waterton Lake. They were older than us, but still just kids. They had left all their food out, and the bears had a feast. The ranger fined them severely, and would have thrown them out, but they had to hike out anyway, because they had no food.
      Oh my! No one wants to be a Timothy Treadwell, or leave an audio like that behind for posterity. I hadn’t heard that name in quite some time.

  • Doug Goodman

    Crazy stories, both of them! I’ve been to Glacier and seen a few grizzlies. I wouldn’t want to camp anywhere near them.

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