Lost Hunter Rescued in Backcountry South of Bozeman
On Friday, September 24 at approximately 6:04 p.m., Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky received a 911 call from a hunter who had become lost in the backcountry near Portal Creek, east of Big Sky.
The hunter had a cell phone, but service was spotty in the area. Fortunately, the hunter was able to provide essential information regarding his location to GCSSAR personnel.
Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue responded with ground volunteers, including a search dog team, and was assisted by a helicopter from Billings Clinic MedFlight that flew over the area to confirm the coordinates obtained from the 911 call.
The helicopter crew located the lost hunter at dusk and was able to land in a safe location before nightfall. The crew rescued the lost hunter, who was later transported to a Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy to receive further assistance at another location.
With hunting season upon us, it's important to be aware of your surroundings. If you're exploring new terrain, you can get lost easily. Sheriff Dan Springer advises hunters to carry a map and compass and emphasizes the importance of knowing how to use both. A GPS locating device is highly recommended. With rapidly changing weather in the backcountry, hunters should also be prepared for unexpected overnights.
Being prepared helps SAR crews if their services are needed. This story is a great example. The hunter was able to send out a call for help and remain stationary, making it easier for responders to locate him. Recognizing when they were lost, calling for help early, and not compounding the situation by continuing to move, helped the Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue team bring this event to a quick and safe conclusion.