Grizzly bear, accidental shooting of hunting buddy in North Idaho more complicated than thought

Bullet that killed his friend first passed through the grizzly bear-

In mid-September there was a week long story about two black bear hunters from Nevada who accidentally shot a grizzly bear almost exactly on the Idaho/Montana border, not far south of British Columbia.  They tracked the bear into thick vegetation and it charged and attacked  the older man (39-year-old Steve Stevenson, of Winnemucca).  After a number of shots (30.06) the younger man (20-year-old Ty Bell also of Winnemucca, Nevada) killed the bear but his partner lay dying from bear wounds. That was the original story.

Then the story was amended  that the younger man shot his partner dead while aiming for the bear. Now perhaps the final version has come out. The bullet did kill the man but it was not a missed shot. Rather than bullet passed through the bear and killed the man after doing so.

Killing a grizzly bear in the area is illegal, but given that no evidence has been produced that was not a misjudgement (mistaken identity of the bear) plus the death of Stevenson, it looks like no charges will be filled.

Here is the AP story, Final Story?





  1. Mike Avatar

    I guess the law doesn’t matter if you have fur.

    1. Dude, the bagman Avatar
      Dude, the bagman

      Maybe they decided that the guy probably learned his lesson and didn’t want to provoke a political backlash.

      They couldn’t make a better example out of him than reality already did.

  2. Mike Avatar

    The law is the law.

    1. Dude, the bagman Avatar
      Dude, the bagman

      No, the law is a human institution administered by humans for human ends.

      1. Mike Avatar


        1. Dude, the bagman Avatar
          Dude, the bagman

          Ha! Teach me.

  3. somsai Avatar

    A terribly sad story.

  4. Wolfy Avatar

    They couldn’t correctly ID the species of bear, may not have even been in the right state, and entered dense brush tracking the bear. That’s a lot of wrongs to begin with. Sadly, I run into many hunters that are just as clueless. Many of them have no business in the big woods with guns. And they can do a lot of damage. Thankfully, most come out of the woods alive.

    1. John Avatar

      In response to Wolfy,

      They had bear tags for both Idaho and Montana. As for the bear id, it is fairly obvious in most cases what a bear’s species is, even blond or cinammon blacks, or charcoal grizzlies are usually pretty easy to differentiate (not sure how much experience you have in grizzly country, but I’ve lived in it my whole life), however sometimes it is quite difficult to tell, in this particular case, even the game warden thought it was a black bear when he arrived on scene. It was a young grizzly, so it did not have a pronounced hump or a very dished face. The most sure fire identier is claw length and the shape of the pad. These are after the fact things. They made a mistake, the elder gentleman stepped in to save the younger, and now a grizzly bear is dead and a family has lost a loved one. I would hope that most people could simply leave it at that without drudging up politics and or incorrect and somewhat arrogant assumptions.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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