Steamboat Springs A young California woman was rescued by helicopter early Thursday morning in North Routt County after becoming separated from her hunting party Wednesday.
Routt County Search and Rescue member Darrel Levingston said the 18-year-old from Grass Valley, Calif., was found in good condition and didn't require medical attention.
"She seems to be OK," Levingston said shortly after Thursday's rescue.
The woman was hunting deer with her fiancee in the Seedhouse Road area when she took a wrong turn while heading back to their car Wednesday afternoon. She used her cell phone to call 911 at about 2:20 p.m. Wednesday and spent about 40 minutes on the phone with Search and Rescue officials before her cell phone battery died.
The search began at about 4 p.m. that day, with crews honing in on a meadow near the Hinman Campground. Levingston said Search and Rescue members isolated her location based on the limited areas near Seedhouse where cell phone reception exists and descriptions the woman provided about her surroundings.
Searchers and the woman's fiancee combed the area until 2 a.m. Thursday. The search started again at 6 a.m., Levingston said.
The woman was spotted by a search helicopter at about 7:20 a.m. Thursday. She had spent the night in the woods near Hinman Campground without food or water, Levingston said. Overnight temperatures in that area dipped into the teens.
Levingston said the woman lined her canvas game bag with pine branches and used it as a sleeping bag. She tried unsuccessfully to start a fire. He said the woman stayed put until rescuers found her.
"She did all the right things," he said. "Without that bag, she may not have fared as well as she did. It was pretty cold."
Medical personnel aboard the helicopter - which was loaned by Search and Rescue member John Witte - determined the woman to be in good physical condition.
Levingston said Routt County Search and Rescue has responded to fewer hunting-related calls than usual this fall.
"It seems less than usual, and I think a lot of that is because of the good weather," he said.
The combined deer/elk rifle hunting season ends today.
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