Officials: MT Hunter Killed by Bullet, Not Bear

A tragic update from Montana: the Lincoln County Sherriff's office says a hunter attacked by a bear last Friday after shooting it on the north Idaho-Montana border died of a gunshot wound, not from injuries inflicted by the 400-pound grizzly.

According to this story on IdahoStatesman.com, when Steve Stevenson of Nevada was attacked by the grizzly in the Buckhorn Mountain area, his hunting partner, Ty Bell, shot the bear several times in an effort to save Stevenson.

It is likely one of those shots passed through the bear and hit Stevenson in the chest, killing him, according to the Lincoln County Coroner, Steve Schnackenberg.

_Steve Stevenson, 39, of Winnemucca, Nev., was attacked by the bear in the Buckhorn Mountain area of the North Idaho-Montana border last Friday.

Results from a Montana State Crime Lab autopsy released Friday showed Stevenson suffered one gunshot to his chest, officials from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said. Lincoln County Coroner Steve Schnackenberg, who viewed Stevenson's body before it was autopsied, told The Idaho Statesman he saw clear signs of the hunter having been attacked by the bear, including bites and scratch marks.

"We're pretty sure the bullet passed through the bear before it got to him," Schnackenberg said, declining to say why. "We're pretty sure of that."
_
_
Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe told the Associated Press that investigators were "fairly convinced" it was an accident.

"But the county attorney will review the final report once we're done," Bowe said. Stevenson grew up in Winnemucca and worked as a miner, according to an obituary posted online by Albertson Funeral Home. He is survived by a wife and two daughters.

Stevenson was part of a hunting party of four from Winnemucca, sheriff's investigators said. Another hunter in the group was Ty Bell, 20.

The pair encountered a bear that they thought was a black bear. They shot and wounded it, and it turned out to be a young boar grizzly bear. They tracked the bear to an area of heavy cover, and the bear attacked Stevenson.

Bell shot the bear several times, eventually killing it. He reported the attack that morning with his cell phone...

...Since 1975, grizzly bears in the continental U.S. have been protected by the Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to kill them._