A grizzly bear mauled a hero hunter to death after that hunter distracted the bear to save a friend.
On Friday 39-year-old Steve Stevenson and three friends were hunting black bears in a remote area along the Montana-Idaho border. They shot what they thought was a black bear, but the animal turned out to be a grizzly.
The wounded bear ran into the woods. Stevenson and Ty Bell, 20, waited until they thought the bear was dead to track it into some thick cover, according to the New York Daily News.
But the bear was not dead. It came roaring at Bell. Stevenson then shouted to distract the bear and it attacked him instead. Bell opened fire, eventually killing the bear, but not before it killed Stevenson first.
"It's what my son would have done automatically, for anybody," Stevenson's mother, Janice Price, told the Associated Press.
It is illegal to shoot a grizzly bear -- they are a protected species in the United States. But it is not unusual for hunters to mistake a grizzly bear for a black bear.
It is not clear if Bell will face charges for shooting the grizzly.
UPDATE from Associated Press: BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A hunter attacked by a wounded grizzly in a Montana forest was killed not by the bear, but by a gunshot fired by a companion trying to save him, authorities said Friday.
Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe said an autopsy determined 39-year-old Steve Stevenson of Winnemucca, Nev., died of a single gunshot to the chest. The cause of death was determined by a medical examiner with the Montana State Crime Lab.