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Federal predator hunter kills bear suspected of killing boy
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 4:07 PM- AMERICAN FORK CANYON - A small pack of hound dogs cornered the bear on a mountainside about 11 a.m. Within minutes, Luke Osborn, a federal predator hunter, was within 10 yards of the already-wounded animal.

Taking aim at the base of the bear's neck, which he dispatched with a shot to the neck from his 243-caliber rifle.

Wildlife officers sawed off the bear's head and paws for evidence, then loaded the rest of the carcass into a net, which was hoisted into a state helicopter hovering above.

As the helicopter banked away, what is believed to be the first-ever fatal black bear attack was over, about 12 hours after it began.

The animal reportedly ripped open a tent and carried off an 11-year-old boy in his sleeping bag at a primitive camping area late last night in the Timpooneke trail area of American Fork Canyon.

About 7 a.m., a volunteer hunter with the search team shot what was believed to be the renegade bear in a tree; the animal ran off, leaving a blood trail behind near the northeast tip of Mount Timpanogos.

Earlier, after a Utah Highway Patrol helicopter spotted the bear, John Childs says he wounded the animal with a shoulder shot from his 35-caliber Remington rifle.

Utah County Sheriff's Lt. Dennis Harris says the boy was reported missing about 11:10 p.m. Sunday. The boy's family - his mother, stepfather and a 6-year-old brother - heard the boy screaming and rushed to help, but he was already gone. Searchers followed bear tracks into the forest and about 11:35 p.m. found the boy's remains - about 400 yards away from the shredded tent.

The campsite is located about 11 miles up American Fork Canyon and two miles above the paved road from the Timpooneke campground - some distance away from the developed portion of the campground.

The identity of the victim was not immediately released.

Wildlife officials were aware of bear problems in the area earlier, according to Scott Root, a state conservation outreach manager. He said an incident near the same campground occurred at dawn Sunday when a camper reported a bear take a swipe at him inside a tent. The camper was struck on the head, but not injured. Hunters were dispatched then, too, but did not find the animal.

Root stressed that the bear was likely not looking to make a human being his prey, but was probably attracted by the smell of food.

"He wasn't trying to get a kid; he probably smelled something" in the tent, on the boy's sleeping bag, or on the boy himself, Root said.

Tests plan to confirm if animal indeed one that mauled boy
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