Montana Hiker Killed in Suspected Grizzly Bear Attack

The search for a missing Montana hiker was called off on Friday, when the father-of-four's remains were found after a suspected grizzly bear attack, police said.

Craig Clouatre, 40, of Livingston, disappeared after trekking in the Six Mile Creek area of Paradise Valley, according to local newspaper The Livingston Enterprise.

Clouatre was found dead by Park County Search and Rescue officials, while the grim discovery of Clouatre's death was announced by Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler on the department's Facebook page.

Bichler wrote: "It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing this update. After an extensive search this morning we have located Craig. It appears he had an encounter with a grizzly and unfortunately did not survive.

"Please keep his family and all those involved in your thoughts and prayers."

A grizzy bear and cubs
Pictured: A grizzly named '399' walks with her four cubs along the main highway near Signal Mountain outside Jackson, Wyoming, in June 2020. Police say a missing hiker found dead on Friday was likely attacked by a grizzly bear.

It is thought Clouatre and a friend went into the area to hunt for antler sheds on Wednesday. Bichler told the Enterprise: "They split up at some point later in the morning. When the other man returned to their vehicle and his friend wasn't there, he called us and we began searching Wednesday night."

The search continued into Friday morning, with air crews using a thermal imaging camera, as well as horse teams and ground crews hunting for the hiker. Several residents also volunteered to help with the search. "We're fortunate to have a group of experienced volunteers on our SAR [Search and Rescue] team and we're thankful for the folks who have come to help," Bichler told the paper.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Clouatre's father said that his son grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Montana more than 20 years ago. He added: "He was a joy to have as a son all the way around. He was a good man, a good, hardworking family man."

Clouatre leaves behind a wife and four children.

This is the first suspected grizzly bear mauling in Montana this year, according to the Enterprise.

In 2021, two people were killed in grizzly attacks in the state: a woman who was camping in Ovando and a West Yellowstone guide fishing on the Madison River.

Newsweek revealed the bear that had fatally attacked the camper would be killed if found, after a wildlife spokesman said it was necessary to prevent future attacks. It is believed the bear that killed Leah Davis Lokan, 65, of Chico, California, in July 2021 was shot by federal wildlife workers later that month.

In another grizzly attack last year, Jason Long from Eagle River, Alaska, was attacked by a bear and her two cubs. As reported by Newsweek, the 39-year-old was mauled in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. He survived the attack but had to be hospitalized after suffering "lacerations and puncture wounds."