dogs fight with bear in alaska
Instagram, Kenai River and Company

Watch: Four Dogs Battle with a Brown Bear in Alaska

Cooper Landing residents are no strangers to bears, but this one may have gotten a little too close for comfort.

For most of the year, Cooper Landing, Alaska is a sleepy little town of 200 residents, world-famous for its salmon and trout fishing. The two rivers in town, the Russian and the Kenai, come alive in the summer, with hundreds of fishermen and women and thousands of fish entering the waters when the runs are good.

All of the fish draws other inhabitants as well: bears.

And no one knows how to make trouble quite like bears. An Instagram video is making the rounds of a recent bear encounter in Cooper Landing featuring a face-off between a brown bear and four dogs.

The video, which was posted by Kenai River and Company, was taken on Cooper Landing local Jen Harpe's property. It shows the bear in Harpe's yard, spinning in circles and shaking its head as the four dogs bark and snap at it. The bear appears to be on the defense and does not attack the dogs in the video.

After about 10 seconds, the battle ends, with the bear loping off in one direction and the dogs scattering.


Jen Harpe is a dog trainer, though the dogs in the video are her own pets and are not trained to run off bears. "For the most part, it's instinctual for these guys," she told Alaska Public Media (APM). "I've had dogs that protect the property for generations, and so one dog teaches the next."

Commenters on the video note that the bear looks injured, and there are visible wounds around its neck. Jacob Pelham, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office in nearby Soldotna, told APM that, despite the incident, this bear isn't any more dangerous than any other in the area and hasn't been aggressive towards people as far as he knows.

Cooper Landing residents are well-versed in bear safety and know not to leave any trash or food outside. Any salmon being smoked outside is closely watched, in case one of the numerous brown or black bears in the area sniff it out and decide to come over for a free lunch.

Harpe's neighbor, Michelle Donahue, added it's all just a part of living in Cooper Landing. "This is where we live. We live in bear country. I think what everyone needs to do is just keep your garbage picked up, keep your yard clean, and we can all live together just fine. I think you expect that when you move where you move," she said. "We live in Cooper Landing, we're gonna have bears."

According to locals, this particular bear had been roaming the neighborhood for a while, popping up on surveillance and game cameras and wandering through front yards. Neighbors would warn each other over a group chat whenever the bear was seen and in which direction it was headed.

The bear visited Harpe's property multiple times over the course of several weeks, getting more and more bold until it finally ventured about 20 feet from her deck.

This, apparently, was a little too close for her dogs' liking.

READ MORE: Video: What It Looks Like When a Bear Charges You