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Man accidentally shot wife during bear attack


Friday, December 25, 2015, 2:42 PM

Matthias Liniger poses with his wife, Claudia Huber, who died when a shot he fired at a bear deflected off a tree and hit her.via Facebook

Matthias Liniger poses with his wife, Claudia Huber, who died when a shot he fired at a bear deflected off a tree and hit her.

A Yukon man accidentally shot and killed his wife while trying to protect her from a grizzly bear during an October 2014 attack, according to a coroner’s report released this month.

“What transpired at that property on that day was an absolute, catastrophic collision of events,” Yukon’s chief coroner Kirsten Macdonald said, according to CBC.

Although the home of Matthias Liniger and Claudia Huber was bear-proofed with no easily accessible food or garbage, the attack began after a male grizzly noticed the family’s barking dog — which Macdonald says the bear may have seen as prey.

Liniger brought the dog inside, but the bear started circling the house before crashing through the window.

The dog ran away, while Liniger and Huber ran outside and took refuge in separate vehicles.

The grizzly jumped on the hood of the car Huber was in, then moved on to Liniger’s vehicle.

Liniger briefly scared the animal off by honking, but when Huber tried to move to Liniger’s vehicle, the bear came back and grabbed her.

Her husband ran inside to get a rifle, but by the time he returned the bear had dragged Huber more than 60 feet across a creek.

Liniger fired shots, but had to go back inside for more ammunition before returning to kill the animal.

One of the shots deflected off a poplar tree and hit Huber in the chest. Immediately after, her husband drove her 31 miles to a health center, according to a CBC report last year.


A grizzly bear like the one shown here attacked Claudia Huber before her death by gunshot wound.

Doctors were unable to save her and the 42-year-old was pronounced dead just after noon on Oct. 18, a little over an hour after the attack began.

Despite the gunshot wound, the cause of death was not immediately apparent because she had been so seriously injured in the bear attack.

In a later necropsy, the corner reported finding a single poker chip glued to the bear’s fur.

It is believed that the animal ransacked a camp three weeks earlier, broke open a bottle of glue and accidentally glued a poker chip to itself.

Macdonald’s report highlighted the need for better education regarding bear attacks. At one point, Huber tried to play dead and Macdonald said that’s a big mistake during a predatory bear attack.

“There appears to be ongoing misinformation in the public, despite efforts to get this message out,” she wrote. “The public, and perhaps even school children at a young age, need to be educated on what to do if a bear encounter occurs.”

Although he now knows he’s responsible for his wife’s death, Liniger said that the coroner’s report will give him a sense of closure.

“I had two choices,” Liniger told CBC. “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.'”


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