An American hunter shot dead while on a guided bear hunt in northwestern B.C. earlier this week has been identified by his wife as Jeff Cooper of Toutle, Wash, a small town about 200 kilometres south of Seattle.

A story in Washington's Daily News Online says Cooper had shot and wounded a grizzly bear the day before and was tracking it down the following morning when it charged his hunting party. Cooper's two guides fired, according to the report, and Cooper, who was standing in front of one of them, was struck and killed.

RCMP in B.C. are still investigating and won't say whether they believe the shooting was accidental or suspicious.

Cpl. Dave Tyreman did confirm that a 59-year-old Washington state man was shot Tuesday afternoon while hunting in the Tahtsa Reach Forest Service area about 110 kilometres south of Houston, B.C.

"Basically it's too early in the investigation. And that is what we're investigating, is the circumstances, or the cause of this shooting," Tyreman said.

Tyreman confirmed the hunter's family in Washington has been notified, but did not confirm the hunter's name.

The B.C. Coroners Service and the Conservation Officer Service are also looking into the shooting.

Google maps: Houston, B.C.