A hunter who died during a grizzly bear attack died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, the Montana State Crime Lab medical examiner announced today.
Steve Stevenson, 39, was killed when his hunting partner, Ty Bell, 20, shot the bear multiple times in an attempt to stop the attack, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. One of the rounds struck Stevenson in the chest.
It is unknown if Bell will face charges.
The investigation by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is continuing. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will not be releasing any additional information for at least another three weeks, Undersheriff Brent Faulkner said in the news release.
Bell’s father said the hunters did not realize it was a grizzly bear, not a black bear, when they shot and wounded it. They tracked the bear into some brush before the bear attacked Stevenson.
The two were part of a four-person group from Winnemucca, Nev. hunting black bears. The attack occurred about 10 a.m. PDT in a remote, mountainous, heavily forested area far north on the Idaho-Montana border on Sept. 16. Experts say populations of grizzlies, which are listed as a threatened species and are federally protected, are on the rise in the area.