A Montana backcountry guide has died after he was mauled by a large grizzly bear that was probably defending a nearby moose carcass just outside Yellowstone national park, officials said Monday.
Charles “Carl” Mock, 40, who lived in the park gateway community of West Yellowstone, died Saturday, two days after he was attacked while fishing alone in a forested area along the Madison River several miles north of West Yellowstone, said a Gallatin county sheriff’s office spokesperson, Christine Koosman.
The male bear, which weighed at least 420 pounds (190kg), was later shot and killed when it charged wildlife workers investigating the attack.
The moose carcass was found about 50 yards (45 meters) from the site of the attack, said a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesperson, Morgan Jacobsen.
Mock, who suffered significant scalp and facial wounds, managed to call 911 after the attack and was found after searchers looked for him for about 50 minutes.
He was transported by toboggan and snowmobile to an ambulance before being taken to a hospital in the city of Idaho Falls, where he died, according to the sheriff’s office.
Mock was a guide at Backcountry Adventure, which provides snowmobile rentals and tours in Yellowstone national park and surrounding areas of national forest, according to the company’s Facebook page.
A fundraising website set up on Mock’s behalf after the mauling said he was passionate about the outdoors and a beloved guide for Yellowstone visitors.
Residue from bear spray – a Mace-like deterrent meant to protect against attacks – was found on Mock’s clothing, but officials could not determine to what extent he was able to use it against the bear.
The grizzly was killed Friday after it charged a group of seven game wardens and other personnel as they approached the scene of the attack. Several people fired at the animal and it died about 20 yards (18 meters) from the group, Jacobsen said.
Officials said they are confident the bear that was killed was the one that attacked Mock.
The Yellowstone region of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming is home to more than 700 bears. Fatal attacks on humans are relatively rare but have increased as the grizzly population grew and more people moved into rural areas near bear habitat. Since 2010 grizzlies in the Yellowstone region have killed eight people, including Mock. Three died inside the park.
The last death before Mock’s was in 2018, when a hunting guide and his client were attacked in Wyoming and the guide was killed.
Grizzlies have been federally protected as a threatened species outside Alaska since 1975 after being widely exterminated by trappers and hunters early last century.