WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. – A Utah family is mourning the loss of their brother and son.
The tragedy made headlines after the 40-year-old backcountry guide was mauled by a grizzly bear in West Yellowstone.
Experienced outdoorsman Carl Mock's family shared he had a deep respect for wildlife. And, sadly, this could happen to anyone.
Lindsay Mock Russell describes her big brother as a gentle giant that everyone looked up to.
"A lot of people were drawn to him," Russell said. "He was also really tall — he was 6 foot 7 inches."
Mock lived for the outdoors and expressed his respect for wildlife through his camera lens.
"Always loved animals. I think he loved animals more than people," Russell said.
But he loved people too.
"He was very loyal to his friends and family, and he was very service-driven as well," she said.
His love of helping others and the outdoors combined perfectly in his job as a backcountry guide in West Yellowstone, Montana. But that all changed on April 15.
"I believe he was either going fishing or going for a quick hike before he had to be back at work," Russell said.
#EXCLUSIVE-"I like to think that the bear and Carl are roaming the park still… where they'll be forever." Lindsay Mock's brother, Carl, was killed by bear attack in West Yellowstone, MT earlier this month. Tonight she shares his legacy. @KSL5TVpic.twitter.com/U9JZvC9LCP— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) April 30, 2021
Mock was near the Baker's Hole campground when he was blindsided by a grizzly bear.
"It seems he got attacked from behind," Russell said. "They don't think that he even knew because he wasn't able to get his bear mace out."
Russell said Mock's years of experience in the backcountry kicked in.
"He got into the appropriate position which is the fetal position and having your hands protect as much of your head and neck as possible," she said. "They could tell that was … the bear grabbed onto him, they think that it shook him and threw him."
Somehow Mock was able to stand up next to a tree and call 911.
"How terrifying that would be knowing the bear was still kind of hunting you, but he was protecting a moose carcass," she said.
But the carcass was buried.
"It wasn't a visible food source — Mock would've had no idea it was there," Russell said.
Mock underwent two extensive surgeries but he suffered a stroke that claimed his life just two days later. Yet he wasn't done serving, as he donated his organs.
"I think he would've been really proud to save lives," Russell said.
The bear was also killed after it charged park rangers, even after being maced multiple times.
"I think it was unfortunate for everyone involved, no one wanted to do it," Russell said.
Mock was cremated and returned to the park. His family takes comfort knowing he is home.
"I like to think that the bear and Carl are roaming the park still — that's something where they'll be forever," she said.
Yellowstone is home to both grizzly and black bears. Attacks are considered rare with about 10 deaths since 1872.