State Wildlife troopers in Sitka have charged the Sea Mountain Golf Course groundskeeper for attempting to poison brown bears.
Wildlife Trooper Jake Abbott says the investigation shows golf course employee, Kevin Taranoff, placed food laced with anti-freeze coolant near the Sea Mountain Restaurant.
The poisonous food could be what killed two dogs that visited the area last week.
A month ago, the bears tore holes in the golf course. At Taranoff’s request, the Department of Fish and Game set a bear trap, but Abbott says Taranoff ended up taking matters into his own hands.
“At that time the grounds keeper had made some comments along the lines of ‘if you don’t deal with the bear I will.’ So upon hearing that I became suspicious that this person had most likely attempted to poison the bears as a way of dealing with the bear problem,” Abbot says.
Taranoff told several Sea Mountain employees about his attempt to poison the bears, Abbott says. After the dog deaths and those conversations, Abbott filed charges and cited Taranoff on Wednesday.
“He subsequently admitted that he was the person who had tried to poison the brown bears,” Abbott says.
Taranoff acted alone without the permission or knowledge of golf course management. He is facing a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine, or one year in jail, or both.