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Feb 23rd
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Home National & State Parks Yellowstone Hunt for Yellowstone Killer Grizzly Continues

Hunt for Yellowstone Killer Grizzly Continues

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UPDATE: Yellowstone park rangers and wildlife officials reportedly captured a 420-pound male grizzly near where hiker John Wallace was killed, but officials are waiting for DNA results to determine if the bear is the one responsible for killing the hiker. The bear was collared with a tracking device and released, according to reports.

Original story: Despite daily reconnaissance flights over the area where hiker John Wallace was mauled to death, as of Sept. 2 the grizzly responsible for killing the Michigan hiker remained at large in Yellowstone National Park and at risk to other hikers.

Spotting aircraft flying over Mary Mountain Trail where 59-year-old Wallace was enjoying some of his favorite park areas before his untimely death have resulted in very few bear sightings, park rangers said.

yellowstone_grizzlyThree bear traps previously set out in the area have been moved to different locations, and five additional traps have been deployed in an attempt to capture grizzlies in the area.

Rangers and wildlife biologists are continuing their investigation.

Results of DNA tests of hair samples taken from the attack site and from any bears that may be captured in the area will aid the ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding this fatal attack, according to park officials.

Rangers said the investigation and autopsy results confirm that Wallace, of Chassell, Mich., died Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 of traumatic injuries from a grizzly bear attack.

Wallace was traveling alone, and had pitched a tent in a park campground sometime Wednesday.

His body was discovered Friday morning by two hikers along the Mary Mountain Trail. The 21-mile long trail crosses the center of Yellowstone, connecting the west and east sides of the lower portion of the Grand Loop Road.

Visitors are reminded that park regulations require people to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from all other large animals.

Hikers are encouraged to travel in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail, and carry bear spray.

With bison mating season ending, the elk mating season beginning, and bears focused on eating to gain weigh before winter arrives, visitors are encouraged to educate themselves about wildlife safety utilizing the many resources available including the park web site, the newspaper handed out at park entrances, and the signs posted at every trailhead.

With sunny skies and daytime highs in the 60s, rangers were expecting to deal with a large number of Labor Day holiday weekend crowds.

Campgrounds and lodging facilities in the park were expected to fill very early Saturday.

Yellowstone hosts over 3 million visitors a year, with an average of just one bear caused human injury a year. Wallace's death is the second fatal bear attack in Yellowstone National Park this year, and only the seventh in the park since it was established in 1872.

Some visitor services will begin to close for the season starting Sunday, Sept. 4. All roads to and inside the park are open. There are no construction related delays or closures associated with the Lamar River Bridge project scheduled over the weekend.

The fire danger rating in Yellowstone is currently " High." Visitors are encouraged to be careful with campfires, grills, camp stoves and smoking materials. When actively burning, smoke may be visible from park roadways.

Some trails and backcountry campsites are temporarily closed due to fire or wildlife activity. The latest information on backcountry access is available by contacting Visitor Centers or Backcountry Offices.

See our earlier story by clicking here.

National & State Parks