Monday, June 19, 2017

Bears and Moose Are Par for the Course

Golfers Gary Cox and Devery Prince became an unexpected trio recently when a black bear joined their morning game at hole No. 8 on Moose Run's Creek Course in an encounter Cox caught on video.

"You can see we're jumping around reaching, grabbing clubs to make sure we had something to defend ourselves," Cox said. "You know, he wasn't really aggressive, but he wasn't afraid of us at all."

The bear stood up and used the pin for support as it swatted at the flag atop the pin. The bear soon gave up, then found the pair's carry bags more appealing.

Cox and Prince yelled and growled at the bear. Cox threw a golf ball at a bag to startle the bear, which strolled into the woods with Prince's coffee container in its mouth.

"If he decided he was going to have some adolescent adrenaline rush or something, you know he could," Cox said. "… (I)t was a little unnerving. Not that I think he was acting aggressive in that way, but you just don't know what they're going to do."

Cox and Prince's encounter isn't the only wildlife sighting on a course this summer. Both Moose Run's Hill Course and Anchorage Golf Course have been home to bigger challenges than sand traps and water hazards.

"Animal sightings are pretty much a daily occurrence out there at Moose Run," said Moose Run general manager Don Kramer. "… Most of the time the golfers are the ones that call them in and we have somebody on each course riding around … and if there's a bear around we try and shoo them off with the carts." (...)

Fish and Game officials advise caution in a bear encounter.

"Basically if you have a bear come into your golf cart, you shouldn't be pulling out your 7-iron or going after it," said Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh.

Because bear encounters aren't unusual, staff at Anchorage Golf Course carry air horns and staff at Moose Run carry bear spray. Pins at those courses are removed at night because moose and bears like to play with them.

Most Alaska golfers know that wildlife is par for the course.

"The golfers out there are fairly local and they understand that," Kramer said. "It's Alaska, it happens all over."

by Chris Lawrence, Alaska Dispatch | Read more:
Image: Marc Lester
[ed. I used to golf and work at both of these courses and bear/moose sitings were a daily occurrence. As a marshal I'd gently herd animals away, or at least get between them and the players with my cart. Most of the time there weren't any problems, but every once in a while... See also: Black bear kills teen runner during trail race near Anchorage]