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Search & Rescue Responds To Report Of Missing Hunter

Beaverhead County Search and Rescue News

Submitted by: Mel Rice-Public Relations Officer

On the evening of November 3rd, the Beaverhead Search and Rescue was called out to the Calvert Mine area in Bryant Creek, located northwest of Wise River. A husband and wife hunting team from Butte had been hunting along a ridge when they decided to split up and each hunt around on opposite sides of the ridge. They were to meet back at their vehicle. The husband arrived back at the vehicle but his 48 year old wife did not return. After the husband had searched the area and could not find her, he had another hunter in the area drive out to cell service and call 911. The BVHD S&R managers were then paged out at 8:05 pm and general membership received the page at 8:45 PM. By 9:00 PM search teams were deployed to the search area. Lawrence Morrisroe and Deputy Mike Miles remained at the S&R building to manage the search.

Five hasty teams from Dillon and one hasty team from the Big Hole were deployed to the Calvert mine area. They reached the search area around 10:30 PM and visited with the husband to get particulars on the area and where the hunters separated. The managers at this time had called for air support from 2 Bears out of Kalispell but 2 Bears could not respond so Montana Army National Guard was contacted and they had a bird in the air around 2:00 AM. Some searchers started covering the search area by driving roads and trails hoping she had found a road and was walking out. Other searchers started combing the area on foot looking for clues as to her direction of travel. Two team members shouted out her name and she responded. Kolby Malesich and Dusty Crowe heard her but because of the terrain and darkness that night it was very difficult to determine the direction of sound. They figured she was around a mile from their location. At that point the search parties split and started hiking up and down different drainages, still calling out and trying to determine direction of her calling. She had lost her rifle and her binoculars.

At 3:13 AM, Trent Cottom and Sam Peterson located the individual who was very confused, soaked to the bone, and almost delirious. Trent was able to get her calmed down, got dry clothes on her and comforted her. The two S&R members began walking her out of the hole she wandered into. After a short period of time, Evan Helle and Jake Peterson made their way to Trent, Sam and the missing lady to help with the evacuation. At times they had to carry her for she was so exhausted she could hardly pick up her feet and the terrain was very difficult. The Blackhawk helicopter was turned around because medical attention was not required and they would not be able to aid in the evacuation process. The Search and Rescue recovery party finally reached a road where a side by side picked her up and took her to her husband’s location at 7:00 AM. After a long anxious night it was a very jubilant and emotional reunion. After much emotion and thankfulness they returned to Butte and the S&R unit returned home.

There is much gratification in accomplishing something that ends with a great result. There is nothing like finding that lost individual who probably would not have made it much longer. Great job to all the members of your Beaverhead Search and Rescue who participated in this event: Lawrence Morrisroe, Trent Cottom M.D. Peterson, Clint Rouse, Cody Schnee, Dan Cahill, Dusty Crowe, Evan Helle, Jake Peterson, Kolby Malesich, Mark Smith, Missy Martin, Parke Scott, and Sam Peterson. There were 168 man hours spent on this search. The Unit would like to give a very special thank you to Yvonne Phillips for an outstanding job as BVHD Sheriff dispatch that night. All communication from the search area to the command center had to be relayed through her. Great job Yvonne and thank you for your patience and assistance… “In the Business of Saving Lives” your Beaverhead Search and Rescue.

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