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Montana sheriff says hiker killed, grizzly bear suspected

Montana AP.jpeg
Posted at 12:38 PM, Mar 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-26 13:38:17-04

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man who went missing while hiking earlier this week was killed in a suspected encounter with a grizzly bear north of Yellowstone National Park, authorities said Friday.

The victim was identified as Craig Clouatre, 40, of Livingston. No details were provided on where he was found or why a grizzly bear was believed responsible for his death.

Search teams on the ground and in helicopters had been looking for Clouatre after he went hiking on Wednesday morning with a friend, possibly to hunt for antlers, and was reported overdue that day, according to the sheriff. The search began that night concentrated on the Six Mile Creek area of the Absaroka Mountains, located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Livingston, Montana.

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

A Montana man who went missing while hiking earlier this week was killed in a suspected encounter with a grizzly bear north of Yellowstone National Park, authorities said Friday.

The victim was identified as Craig Clouatre, 40, of Livingston. No details were provided on where he was found or why a grizzly bear was believed responsible for his death.

Search teams on the ground and in helicopters had been looking for Clouatre after he went hiking on Wednesday morning with a friend, possibly to hunt for antlers, and was reported overdue that day, according to the sheriff. The search began that night concentrated on the Six Mile Creek area of the Absaroka Mountains, located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Livingston, Montana.

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

Among them was a backcountry guide killed by a bear last year along Yellowstone’s western border. Guide Charles “Carl” Mock was killed in April after being mauled by a 400-plus pound (181-plus kilogram) male grizzly while fishing alone at a favorite spot on Montana’s Madison River, where it spills out of the park.

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

The Yellowstone region spanning portions of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming has more than 700 bears. Fatal attacks on humans are rare but have increased in recent decades as the grizzly population grew and more people moved into rural areas near bear habitat.