An attempt to find a female grizzly bear thought to have been wounded north of Gardiner last weekend failed to turn up evidence of the bear or to confirm that it was injured.
A Pennsylvania hunter shot at the bear last week while elk hunting in the Cinnabar Basin region. The bear, accompanied by a cub, charged after the hunter tried to scare it away.
The hunter shot at the charging bear, believing that he hit it, and then his gun jammed. The female swatted the hunter and attempted to bite him, but she quickly gave up the attack and left without injuring the man. The hunter's shot killed the cub.
It was initially believed that the hunter, who had fired from the hip, had hit the female bear with the same shot.
Kevin Frey, a bear specialist with Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Bozeman, returned to the area with a dog and other searchers to try to verify that the bear was injured or killed and found no evidence. "We had a dog in there," he said. "If she was mortally wounded, we would've found her."
Grizzly mortalities are counted in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem as part of a conservation plan to alert officials to problems. Although the bear wasn't found, it will be considered a possible mortality.