By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
The grizzly bear believed responsible for killing a Montana man last week will not be pursued or tracked down because it is not believed to be a predatory attack, officials said on Monday.
Craig Clouatre, 40, was discovered dead on Friday after failing to return from a hike in the Absaroka Mountains where he and a friend were hunting for antler sheds.
Park County (Montana) Sheriff Brad Bichler said there was no evidence that the attack was predatory in nature.
“This doesn’t appear to be an attack where the bear sought out the person,” Bichler told the Associated Press on Monday. “It wasn’t like the bear came down into a campground and nabbed someone.”
Grizzly attacks are not uncommon in the area. Just under a year ago, a West Yellowstone, Montana man was mauled to death two miles west of the Wyoming state line.
Authorities believe in that case, the grizzly was defending a moose carcass.
Last July, a woman was dragged from her tent in the middle of the night by a 400-pound male grizzly.
Awakened by her screams, two campers tried to intervene to save the woman by spraying the grizzly with bear spray but were unsuccessful as the woman died shortly after the attack.
In a Facebook post on Sunday morning, Bichler asked the community to be respectful of Clouatre’s family and not to speculate on the page.
“I visited with Craig’s wife this morning and she has reiterated to me that she and the family understand that Craig loved to be in wild places and was well aware of the risks involved with that,” Bichler said.
“With all of that being said, we have had some topics come up in regards to this tragedy that would be better suited to be discussed outside this social media platform,” he said.
A GoFundMe page has been set-up to support Clouatre’s family. So far more than $95,000 has been raised.