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Coast Guard Commander Fined After Killing Alaska Brown Bear

Capt. Mark Morin conducts a uniform inspection of Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak Alaska members during a change of command ceremony held at the air station June 10, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson)
Capt. Mark Morin conducts a uniform inspection of Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak Alaska members during a change of command ceremony held at the air station June 10, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson)

KODIAK, Alaska — The commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak was fined after pleading guilty to a noncriminal charge of shooting a brown bear out of season.

Mark Morin was fined $310 after authorities said he accidentally shot the bear while attempting to scare it off during an elk hunting trip in September, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Friday.

"The whole thing was an accident and was very unfortunate, and I wish it never happened," Morin said.

Morin was at a cabin on Afognak Island when four bears approached, a sow brown bear and three older cubs. Morin attempted to scare the animals off by banging on a window, and then he decided to fire warning shots from his rifle, according to court documents.

The first shot didn't faze the bears, so fired again. Morin said the third shot struck a cub, killing the bear.

The other bears stayed near the cabin, and later they began covering the cub with brush and grass, Morin said. He intended to salvage the hide, skull and claws, but the bears stayed throughout the night.

The next morning, Morin saw the other bears eating the dead cub. Morin photographed the scene and later informed authorities, according to court documents.

"It was a pretty significant emotional event, very traumatic," Morin said. "I've never had this happen before."

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