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Grizzly bear wounded by hunters in Montana bites back, in fatal attack

A bear hunter was killed by a wounded grizzly after trying to lure it away from another hunter — part of the group that shot the bear — on the Idaho-Montana border.
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An American grizzly bear. Grizzlies are responsible for three fatal attacks so far in 2011 — on hunters and hikers. A grizzly also attacked a group of teenage boys learning survival skills in the Alaskan wilderness, mauling two badly. (Getty Images/Getty Images)

A bear hunter was killed by a wounded grizzly after trying to lure it away from another hunter — part of the group that shot the bear — on the Idaho-Montana border.

Steve Stevenson, 39, a father of two, was the third person to be killed by a grizzly bear in the U.S. since July.

In early July, a Californian man hiking in Yellowstone National Park with his wife was mauled and killed by a female with cubs — the first bear-caused human fatality within the park in about 25 years.

(GlobalPost reports: Grizzly bear mauls and kills man in Yellowstone National Park)

In late August, also in Yellowstone, about 400 miles south of the latest attack, a bear mauled a Michigan hiker to death. In July, a female bear with cubs in Yellowstone attacked a couple from California, killing the man.

Meanwhile, on July 23, a group of seven teenage boys who were learning survival skills in the Alaskan wilderness was attacked by a grizzly with her cub, and two of them suffered "serious, life threatening injuries."

(GlobalPost reports: Grizzly bear mauls group of 7 teens in Alaskan wilderness)

Stevenson and Ty Bell, 20, the man he saved by distracting the bear were part of a four-man hunting party from of Winnemucca, Nevada, tracking black bears in the mountains.

One of the group had already shot the bear when it attacked. The authorities said the hunters had thought the animal was a black bear when they wounded it — grizzly bears are a protected species in the U.S., according to a report in the Daily News.

Stephenson and Bell had waited until they thought the bear was dead before tracking it into some thick cover.

"They both shot it and it kept coming," Stevenson's mother, Janet Price, told the AP. "Steve yelled at it to try and distract it, and it swung around and took him down. It's what my son would have done automatically, for anybody."

Bell reportedly shot the bear several times and killed it — but only after it had attacked Stevenson, authorities said.

Price told authorities that her son and Bell were licensed to shoot black bears and were aware that there were grizzly in the area.

Police said hunters often confuse the two species.

"Anytime you have a wounded animal it can be dangerous," John Fraley, spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, told the AP. "But usually, grizzlies are considered more aggressive than black bears."

Fraley estimated the bear’s age at 6 to 8, based on its weight of 400 pounds. "That’s a good-sized grizzly bear," he said, adding that it was said the grizzly was one of about 45 living in that are of northwest Montana and northern Idaho.

Meanwhile, Idaho has updated its legislation to clarify that it is legal for people to harm grizzlies in the defense of themselves and others.  

According to

The Delegation members note that these proposed changes to the law would be a drastic improvement over the current ESA regulations protecting the grizzly bear, which make it possible, but extremely difficult to legally take a grizzly bear in an act of self-defense or defense of another human. The new legislation states: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law . . . the provisions of this Act shall not apply with respect to the taking of any grizzly bear by an individual who demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that the individual carried out the taking as a result of 1) self-defense; 2) defense of another individual; or 3) a reasonable belief of imminent danger posed by the grizzly bear to any individual."


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