Grizzly bear kills hiker, Montana sheriff says

A 40-year-old man in Montana who went missing while hiking earlier this week was killed in a suspected encounter with a grizzly bear, authorities said on Friday.

Craig Clouatre from Livingston was thought to have come across the bear north of Yellowstone National Park, although no details have been provided on what occurred.

Clouatre went hiking to hunt for antlers with a friend on Wednesday.

According to the sheriff, search teams were immediately deployed on the ground and in helicopters to find him after he went missing that night.

The search concentrated on the Six Mile Creek area of the Absaroka Mountains, located about 30 miles (48 kilometres) south of Livingston, Montana.

Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler told the Livingston Enterprise that the two men “split up at some point later in the morning” and “when the other man returned to their vehicle and his friend wasn’t there, he called us and we began searching.”

In a Facebook post, Bichler said authorities were working hard on Friday to return the victim’s body to his family.

Clouatre’s father said Craig “was a joy to have as a son all the way around.”

“He was a good man, a good, hardworking family man”, he added.

Anne Tanner, a friend of the victim said Clouatre often visited the Yellowstone mountains and others around the park when he wasn’t home with his wife and their four young children.

The Yellowstone region spanning portions of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming has more than 700 bears.
Pic: Jim Peaco

The Yellowstone region spanning portions of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming has more than 700 bears. Pic: Jim Peaco

Fatal attacks on humans have increased in recent decades as the grizzly population grows and more people moved into rural areas near bear habitat.

Since 2010, grizzlies in the Yellowstone region have killed at least eight people.

Among them was a backcountry guide, Charles “Carl” Mock who was killed in April last year after being mauled by a 400-plus pound (181-plus kilogram) male grizzly while fishing alone at a favourite spot on Montana’s Madison River.

While Grizzlies are protected under federal law outside Alaska, elected officials in the Yellowstone region are pushing to lift protections and allow grizzly hunting.

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