Rangers check if man was victim of grizzly attack

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. —Rangers investigated Saturday whether a Michigan man was the victim of a grizzly attack in Yellowstone National Park or if the bear had come upon the hiker's body after he died.

The man was found Friday morning by two hikers on the Mary Mountain Trail, which runs northeast of the park's iconic Old Faithful geyser. Investigators found grizzly bear tracks and scat near the man, but were not immediately sure whether the grizzly caused the man's death or disturbed his body after he died.

"Bears are opportunistic when it comes to food sources," Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said.

"It's very clear that there was a bear around the victim's body. What we don't know is whether this was a bear attack, or whether the bear came upon this man's body after he died."

Authorities say the victim likely died Wednesday or Thursday. Park officials did not plan to name the hiker — a man in his 60s from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan — until today, pending family notification.

An aerial search of the area Saturday turned up no bear activity. Nash said that park rangers and wildlife biologists were combing the area on foot.

"They are reviewing and investigating the scene to see if they can find any clues about what happened," Nash said.

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said that the hiker was found with a snack in his closed backpack, but that it appears the grizzly did not try to get at the food.