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’s family declined comment Wednesday.
An investigation determined that it was a surprise attack and that a defensive firearm or other deterrents, such as bear spray, was not readily available to the victim.
The NPS said it was notified of the attack at approximately 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Through coordination with a local air taxi service used by hunters, the NPS ensured the site was secure and that the victim’s hunting partner was safely evacuated from the area.
The following day, the NPS coordinated with Alaska Wildlife troopers to recover the victim’s body, which was transported to the Alaska State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage.
The incident happened Sunday in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, a 13.2 million-acre national park that rises from the ocean up to 18,008 feet, while the hunter was on a 10-day moose hunt with a friend.
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