Coroner: Bullet, Not Bear Killed Woman
Playing dead was the wrong move during Yukon attack
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2015 7:33 AM CST
A grizzly bear is seen in Yellowstone National Park.   (Courtesy of Ray Paunovich via AP)

(Newser) – The husband of a Yukon woman killed in a bear attack last year has been horrified to discover that it was his own bullet that killed her. Claudia Huber's husband, Matthias Liniger, fired at the bear as it dragged her away during the October 2014 attack, and Yukon Chief Coroner Kirsten Macdonald determined that she was killed not by the grizzly bear, but by a bullet that "struck a tree branch and deflected from the anticipated path and trajectory," hitting her in the chest, CNN reports. The bear had chased Huber and her dog out of the house after it crashed through a window, possibly because it wanted to eat the dog. She fled to her vehicle and the bear, which jumped on her hood before starting to run away, attacked her as she tried to make a break for Liniger's vehicle, according to the coroner's report.

Liniger tells the CBC that the release of the coroner's report this week has brought him closure. "I had two choices," he says. "Either I go into the woods and leave myself to the wolves or I move on. And, Claudia is a person who would have kicked my butt and said, 'You'd better move on.'" The coroner tells the CBC that there was an "absolute, catastrophic collision of events" that day and Liniger did the right thing by opening fire, because the grizzly bear would not have stopped the attack otherwise. Huber tried to play dead during the attack. The coroner says that was the wrong thing to do during a predatory attack, where fighting back is the best response. In her report, she called for better efforts to educate the public about what to do during different kinds of bear attacks. (This bow hunter survived after pushing his arm down a grizzly's throat.)