A father-of-four was killed in a suspected grizzly bear attack during a hike in a Montana park.
The remains of Craig Clouatre, 40, of Livingston, were discovered by Park County Search and Rescue near Yellowstone National Park on Friday.
Clouatre went missing after hiking in the Six Mile Creek area of Paradise Valley on Wednesday, according to The Living Enterprise.
Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler confirmed Clouatre’s death in a statement on Saturday.
‘It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing this update. After an extensive search this morning we have located Craig,’ Bichler wrote. ‘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.’
Clouatre leaves behind a wife, Jamie, and their four children.
Pictured: Craig Clouatre, 40, of Livingston, reportedly went missing after hiking in the Six Mile Creek area of Paradise Valley on Wednesday
Clouatre leaves behind a wife, Jamie, and their four children, pictured above
Pictured: the location of the deadly grizzly attack that reportedly took Clouatre’s life in relation to Yellowstone National Park
The father-of-four was killed in a suspected grizzly bear attack during a hike in a Montana park (file image)
On Wednesday, search teams on the ground and in helicopters had been looking for Clouatre after he failed to return from hiking that morning.
He had gone with a friend but the pair split up, possibly to hunt for antlers.
‘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 began that night concentrated on the Six Mile Creek area of the Absaroka Mountains, located about 30 miles south of Livingston, Montana.
‘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.
Authorities were working Friday to return Clouatre’s body to his family, Bichler said in a social media post.
Clouatre’s father told The Associated Press that his son grew up in Massachusetts and moved more than two decades ago to Montana, where Clouatre met his future wife, Jamie, and decided to make a home.
Clouatre grew up in Massachusetts and moved more than two decades ago to Montana, where Clouatre met his future wife, Jamie, and decided to make a home
Jamie shared a tribute to her husband today saying she will have to ‘relearn how to be and who I am… for our kids
Clouatre and his family, pictured, had just suffered the burning down of their home two years ago, which the family was still recovering from at the time of Clouatre’s death
‘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.’
Meanwhile, his wife, Jamie, said she will have to ‘relearn how to be and who I am… for our kids.’
‘I don’t have many words really right now and I’m not reaching back out to everyone who has reached out to me…but I appreciate every one of the sentiments and memories of the most amazing person I have ever known, my husband,’ she wrote on Facebook.
‘I loved him with every single fiber of me….he was a vital part of me and our children and it is going to be a struggle for the rest of our lives. To say we are broken is an understatement. I have to relearn how to be and who I am and stay strong enough for our kids.’
‘No easy way to put it, this is not fair, they don’t deserve this. The support in this community is incredible and I know it comes from Craig…who he was, a joy, a truly kind, good, GOOD man. There is no one else like him in the entire world. Thank you all for everything! We all lost something and the world is a hell of a lot dimmer,’ she went on to write.
The mountains in the area where Craig Clouatre died rise steeply above the Yellowstone River as it passes through the Paradise Valley.
Dense forests at higher elevations are home to bears and other wildlife, although dangerous encounters with people are relatively rare.
Clouatre frequented those mountains and others around the park, hiking in summer and ice climbing in winter when he wasn’t home with his wife and their four young children, said Anne Tanner, a friend of the victim.
Tanner said she had known Clouatre for about a decade because he worked for commercial food companies and delivered to their restaurant, the Emigrant Outpost.
The mountains in the area where Craig Clouatre, pictured, died rise steeply above the Yellowstone River as it passes through the Paradise Valley
The restaurant held a benefit for the Clouatre family after their house burned down two years ago. Tanner said they had only recently recovered from the fire.
‘He was finally just getting their house together,’ she said.
‘It just makes me angry that something like this could happen to such a good person…Of all the men I know, I can’t believe he would die in the wilderness. He was so strong and he was so smart.’
State wildlife officials were responding to the scene but Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesperson Greg Lemon said he had no further information.
Since 2010, grizzlies in the Yellowstone region have killed at least eight people.
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 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.