MANSFIELD – A 22-year-old Mansfield man was killed by a grizzly bear in an Alaska state park Sunday while on a moose hunting trip, the National Park Service reported Thursday.
Mansfield police attempted to notify family on Tuesday that Austin Pfeiffer, of Mansfield, had died, according to a report at the Mansfield Police Department. An Alaska state trooper called MPD to have an officer contact Austin’s wife, Ryleigh Pfeiffer, regarding a wildlife encounter while hunting in Alaska, according to information the News Journal obtained.
Pfeiffer was a job site foreman with Dolce’s Tree Service and a skilled tree climber, lift operator and all-around handyman, according to his employer’s website.
According to his Facebook page, Austin was also employed at Gamemaster Taxidermy. Austin would have turned 23 on Tuesday. He married Ryleigh Hunter Pfeiffer on Oct. 20, 2018.
Wednesday, his family declined comment.
According to abcnews.go.com, the incident happened Sunday in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, a 13.2-million-acre area in southeast Alaska, while the hunter was on a 10-day moose hunt with a friend near the Chisana River drainage at the time of the attack.
The attack occurred in a remote area approximately 50 air miles from the nearest community of Northway, Alaska, and 130 miles from park headquarters, according to the National Park Service.
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The attack occurred near the Cottonwood Creek drainage, an area of mixed tundra and forest lands with dense vegetation, while the hunting part was salvaging meat from a moose harvested the day before, according to a news release issued Thursday by the National Park Service.
The NPS said an investigation determined that it was a surprise attack and that a defensive firearm or other deterrent, such as bear spray, was