A grizzly bear attacked and killed a bicyclist camped in a tiny Montana hamlet early Tuesday. Following the attack, wildlife officials and law enforcement personnel embarked on a massive search for the bear, which they intended to kill.

Greg Lemon, a spokesperson for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, said the pre-dawn incident occurred in Ovando. It's a village of fewer than 100 people about 60 miles northwest of Helena. The victim has not been recognized. But according to NBC Montana, the camper was a lady.

Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles said the bear had previously gone into the area where the victim was staying and fled, only to return later.

"There was an earlier contact with the bear [before] the event," Roselles said. "The bear basically came back into the campsite. It wandered into a campsite a couple of different times."

Officials said a team of law enforcement and wildlife professionals tracked down and killed the bear. Lemon said a helicopter team helped in the search for a "daybed" where the bear might be sleeping to escape the heat. He added that the bear was believed to have fled Ovando following the mauling.

According to Lemon, wildlife officials set five traps in and near Ovando to capture the bear.

Initial reports said the victim was riding a bicycle when she was attacked. Roselles stated that this is not the case.

Lemon added the victim was part of a group of people on a cycling excursion.

The victim's identity was not immediately published, and the attack's circumstances were still being investigated.

"There was an earlier contact with the bear prior to the event," Roselles said. "The bear basically came back into the campsite. It wandered into a campsite a couple of different times."

Officials did not specify the location of the incident. Still, Roselles stated that there were other people camping in the area.

Wildlife officials claimed a video camera from an Ovando company captured images of a grizzly bear on Monday night.

"We had some video camera footage from a local business in the town of a grizzly bear walking through town on Monday night, also there was a grizzly bear that got into a chicken coop Monday night and then this incident, so we believe it's all the same grizzly bear," Lemon told CBS affiliate KXLH-TV.

Grizzly bears have increased their conflict with humans in the Northern Rockies over the last decade, as the federally protected creatures have moved into new areas and the number of people living and recreation in the area has increased. As a result, lawmakers in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho have called for the protections on the animals to be lifted so they can be hunted.

While fishing near the Yellowstone National Park border in southwestern Montana, a backcountry guide was murdered by a grizzly bear in April. When the 420-pound bear charged wildlife officials as they approached the mauling site, they were shot and killed.

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear at the Detroit Zoo Getty Images Raymond Boyd

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