A 44-year-old Shepherd-area man was killed Thursday morning by his own bull.

Yellowstone County Sheriff's Lt. Kent O'Donnell confirmed that the man was dead but said he could not release the man's name yet because family members were still being notified.

O'Donnell said County Coroner Bill Jones determined that the man was mauled by his bull, a long-horned animal that a neighbor told authorities was a Mexican fighting bull.

"We're assuming he went outside to feed the bull" when the attack occurred, O'Donnell said, and it was evident the man sustained "a fair amount of trauma."

Deputies were called to 6233 Pleasant Hollow Trail, about six miles north of Shepherd, at about 9 a.m., O'Donnell said. He said a neighbor looked out his window and saw the bull standing in a corral over what appeared to be a human body.

Jones said the man may have died up to an hour and a half before the call came in at 9, according to O'Donnell.

The first person on the scene was a county grader operator, John Hutzenbiler, who is also a member of the Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department. He was working a couple of miles from the scene when he was alerted by pager and then asked to respond by another firefighter.

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He went to the residence and used his grader to herd the bull out of the corral into the adjoining pasture, then blocked the entrance to the pasture with the grader.

Three deputies also responded, as did an American Medical Response ambulance and a unit from the Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department.

About 10 a.m., when deputies were still waiting for the coroner to arrive, the bull repeatedly approached the fence separating the pasture and the corral, bellowing and grunting and shaking his head.

Two deputies were holding shotguns loaded with slugs and pointed them at the bull on several occasions, "just in case the bull decided to charge them," O'Donnell said.

The body was lying under a sheet, and some of the man's clothing was scattered on the ground about 50 feet away. O'Donnell said the clothing appeared to have been torn off during the incident, as evidenced by the man's jacket, the sleeves of which had been pulled inside out.

O'Donnell said no one else was at the home Thursday morning. He said the victim's wife was out of town and had been notified.

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