Wednesday, November 3, 2004
A 30-year-old hunter who became disorientated in a snowstorm Sunday morning and had to spend the night outside was found Monday by helicopter.
The eastern Colorado man was hunting in the Slide Mountain area, about 20 miles north of Hayden and just south of Bears Ears, incident commander Jim Vail said. The man had been missing since 11:30 a.m. Sunday, and his hunting companions called for help at about 7:30 a.m. Monday.
The man was found eight miles from the camp and near a group of private cabins around Elkhead Reservoir. He had stomped out the word "help" in the snow near the cabins, allowing the helicopter to spot him.
The man became lost when he and a hunting partner agreed to chase elk to each other. The man went down into a drainage area, became disorientated and then became further disorientated when a snowstorm blew into the area Sunday afternoon.
Routt County Search and Rescue was called out early Monday morning and had six searchers and two dog teams on hand for the search. At about 2 p.m., a helicopter was called for help.
The man was rescued at about 3:30 p.m. Monday near the private cabins that he spotted from a nearby mountaintop; he did not break into the cabins. He was tired from hiking but otherwise was in good condition, Vail said.
The man was dressed for the low temperatures, which dropped to about 5 degrees Sunday night, but he did not have any food and was unable to get a fire started.
"Either (lost hunters) are really close to where they were last seen or have gone miles and miles and miles," Vail said.
And most cases, Vail said, when hunters travel far beyond their campsite they run across other hunters. In this case, the man did not find anyone else in the area.