Bear that killed man near Prescott tested negative for rabies

Jun 21, 2023, 11:56 AM

PHOENIX — The bear that killed a man near Prescott last week tested negative for rabies and was healthy, according to a report released Wednesday.

Results from a necropsy performed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department showed the bear was 7 to 10 years old, weighed 365 pounds and was in good condition, with no apparent signs of disease, according to a press release.

Human remains consistent with the injuries of 66-year-old Steven Jackson were also found inside the stomach of the bear, as well as native vegetation and seeds.

The bear’s brainstem tested negative for rabies, AZGFD said.

The cause of death of the bear was ruled as multiple gunshot wounds from a neighbor who was trying to stop the attack.

Officials said it appeared to be an “unprovoked predatory attack by the animal.”

YSCO officials responded to the bear attack around 8 a.m. last Friday and found the man and bear both dead.

Witnesses stated seeing Jackson sitting, having a coffee at a table on his property, when he was blindly attacked and dragged 75 feet down an embankment.

Neighbors attempted to intervene by shouting and blaring their car horns. It took until a neighbor was able to retrieve his rifle to fatally shoot the bear for the attack to end, officials said.

There did not appear to be anything onsite that could have caused the attack, such as a cooking site, access to water and food.

“Our sincere sympathies go out to Mr. Jackson’s family,” Sheriff David Rhodes said.

“I cannot express how deeply sad this situation is and can only say our prayers are with you.”

YCSO will conduct the death investigation while AZGFD will investigate the cause of the attack.

AZGFD and YCSO warn people to not shoot bears unless there is an imminent threat to you or someone else.

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Bear that killed man near Prescott tested negative for rabies