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CODY — Wildlife officials are investigating a grizzly bear encounter near Cody in which a hunter shot and killed a grizzly bear after being bitten by the bear.

The hunter was bitten at least twice on the left thigh Wednesday morning in the Upper South Fork Valley, about 35 miles southwest of Cody, according to Mark Bruscino, bear management officer for the Wyoming Game and Fish De-partment.

The hunter was alone, but was able to walk out of the backcountry, and was assisted by someone in the area, Brus-cino said.

The hunter has received medical treatment and is expected to be released today, Bruscino said.

Additional details were not immediately available, and authorities are still investigating the incident, he said.

The incident is just the latest of an unusually high number of conflicts between bears and people this year.

Bruscino said that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department recommends hunting with a partner and carrying bear defense — either a gun, bear spray or both.

Bruscino spoke by cell phone from Bozeman, where he was reporting on Wyoming bear management efforts as part of a multi-agency meeting of wildlife specialists, the Yellowstone Ecosystem Committee.

Reports from that meeting show that more than 600 grizzlies live in the Yellowstone region of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, or more than three times the number since they were put on the endangered species list in 1975, according to the Associated Press.

"There’s no doubt from a scientific analysis standpoint that there is a healthy, growing and well-distributed" bear population in the region, Bruscino said.

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