A Montana man was found dead following an apparent grizzly bear attack, according to law enforcement officials.
Craig Clouatre, 40, of Livingston, Montana, was reported missing on Wednesday after he went hiking with a friend – possibly to hunt for antler sheds - and failed to show up at a designated meeting spot. Authorities found his body on Friday morning.
"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."
Park County officials started looking for Clouatre on Wednesday night with teams concentrating their efforts on the Six Mile Creek area of the Absaroka Mountains, north of Yellowstone National Park.
The Sheriff's Office's search included its Search and Rescue volunteer team as well as several area residents who volunteered. Searchers included ground teams as well as those on horseback and helicopter crews. The search group also included personnel from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as well as the U.S. Forest Service. The search continued throughout Thursday and resumed Friday morning.
Authorities: Clouatre Did Not Survive Grizzly Encounter
Bichler posted on the department's Facebook page Friday afternoon that searchers found Craig Clouatre.
"It appears he had an encounter with a grizzly and unfortunately did not survive," Bichler wrote. "We will continue to work through the afternoon to bring Craig home. Please keep his family and all those involved in your thoughts and prayers."
Officials provided no details on where he was found or why they believe a grizzly bear was responsible for his death.
Clouatre Loved the Wild
Bichler shared an update Sunday and wrote that he met with Clouatre's wife "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."
Clouatre moved from his native Massachusetts more than two decades ago to Montana, where he met his future wife, Jamie, and decided to make a home, his father told The Associated Press. Clouatre and Jamie shared four children - three daughters and one son.
"He was a joy to have as a son all the way around," David Clouatre said. "He was a good man, a good, hardworking family man."