Hiker photographed bear before it killed him

A New Jersey hiker killed by a bear in September took a series of photos of the animal with his cellphone before it mauled him to death.

Police in West Milford have released five photos taken by 22-year-old Darsh Patel before he was killed by the 300-pound black bear while hiking with four friends in the Apshawa Preserve, 45 miles northwest of New York.

The photos show the bear behind a fallen tree in the woods. Investigators say the phone was found with puncture marks from the bear.

The photos were released after NJ.com filed an open records request.

West Milford police and the state Environmental Protection Department said last month that the bear did not seem interested in food and exhibited “stalking type behavior.”

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