Montana sheriff says bear mauling case an accident

Published On: Nov 05 2012 02:35:09 PM PST
BILLINGS, Mont. -

A Montana sheriff says a man mauled to death by two brown bears at a state wildlife casting agency suffered extensive wounds that make it impossible to determine if he was conscious prior to the attack.

The head trainer at Animals of Montana had speculated that 24-year-old Benjamin Cloutier, formerly of York Haven, Penn., fell and hit his head prior to being killed. The mauling took place Sunday at the company's facility north of Bozeman.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin Monday Cloutier died of multiple bite and claw wounds that hit major arteries. He says there is no way to confirm if the victim was conscious and that the death is listed as accidental.

Gootkin corroborated that Cloutier lacked defensive wounds and did not use the mace-like bear spray attached to his belt.