State biologists have killed four black bears at a campground near Muldoon Road, after reports of bears tearing open tents looking for food.

Ken Marsh, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said Wednesday afternoon that biologists killed a sow and three cubs at the Centennial Park Campground, off the Glenn Highway near Muldoon.

“Apparently the sow was tearing into a tent with somebody in it when we got the report,” Marsh said.

The bears were believed to be responsible, Marsh said, for “numerous complaints for several weeks about bears coming into people's camps not being afraid of people and tearing into tents looking for food.”

The sleeping woman, Melanie Ritter, was not injured. Ritter, who has been staying at the campground since Friday, said the bear backed off after her dogs started barking, which also sent the three cubs up a tree.

Wednesday's shootings, according to Marsh, were the result of several weeks of bear activity reported at the campground. Biologists have tried non-lethal means to deter the bears, but none are successful.

"Hazing (one of) the bears, shooting non-lethal rounds at them, beanbags, that sort of thing to try to teach them not to come in and try to get into tents," Marsh said. "Unfortunately it just hasn't worked; the bears have become more aggressive."

Fish and Game also considered relocating the bears, but previous relocation efforts in the area have seen bears continue to interact with humans before the animals were finally killed.

The bear deaths come amid a busy black-bear season in the Anchorage area, including at least three bears killed after breaking into cars.

Lauren Maxwell contributed information to this story.

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