Legally Armed Hiker Kills Bear in National Park

The first instance of a bear shooting by a legally-armed hiker in a national park occurred last week.

From the story on KTUU.com:

_A backpacker shot and killed a grizzly bear with a handgun Friday in Denali National Park. This is the first known instance of a visitor killing a bear in the wilderness area. The shooting happened Friday evening, about 35 miles from park headquarters at the west end of Igloo Canyon. A backpacker drew a .45-caliber pistol when he reportedly saw a bear charge his female hiking partner. The man fired nine rounds at the bear. He told a park ranger the animal stopped and walked into the brush. The pair reported the shooting to park rangers, who found the dead bear Saturday about 100 feet from the shooting site.

__The shooting is under investigation by park rangers and biologists. "So what this person was doing something legally in terms of carrying the weapon," said the park's public information officer, Kris Fister. "What is still not legal -- and this has been a federal regulation for a long time -- is the use of the weapon, and so we are looking, again, at whether that shooting was justified." A new federal law that went into effect in February allows visitors to carry handguns in national parks. Fister says this shooting could set a precedent for similar incidents in other national parks._

Let the second-guessing, accusations and heated debate begin. Again...