Merlyn Carter (Photo Courtesy NATA)

A 71-year-old northern pilot is dead after a bear mauled him at his fishing camp in the Northwest Territories.

Merlyn Carter of Hay River was alone when the bear attacked him on the shores of Nonacho Lake, about 270 kilometres southeast of Yellowknife.

He had flown to the camp on Tuesday.

When his son Myles arrived the next day with his mother Jean, a black bear approached them. Myles Carter shot it and the injured animal ran into the woods.

Shortly afterward, Myles Carter found his father's body.

Wildlife officials later found the animal's body in the forest.

"Mr. Carter was mauled by that black bear," said Cathy Menard, the deputy chief coroner.

The attack could have come either later Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning, she added, "but we do believe it was at night because Mr. Carter had a flashlight with him."

The coroner's office is leading an investigation to see if anything could have been done to prevent the attack.

Carter moved to the Northwest Territories from Saskatchewan in the 1950s and founded Carter Air Service, a charter airline, with his wife.

He participated in many community projects, including the construction of a track and field facility in Hay River.