Local Search and Rescue is not soliciting for donations



  The Gallatin County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office is receiving inquiries about funds being solicited for our local Search and Rescue.  The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue is not soliciting for donations by phone or mail, nor have they in the past. 

   If you receive a call from someone asking you to make a donation this is not being done by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue.  Some solicitors are giving a local address to send the donation to and again the local Search and Rescue is not soliciting for funds.

Snowmobiler and Tree collide Near West Yellowstone

20140221-194857.jpgOn February 27, 2014, at 11:40 a.m., Gallatin County Sheriff’s  Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone responded to the report of an injured snowmobiler near the Two Top Snowmobile Trail, which is west of West Yellowstone.  Personnel from the Sheriffs Office, Search and Rescue (West Yellowstone Division), and Yellowstone National Park responded. When they arrived on scene they found a 60-year-old male from Montreal, Canada, who had suffered a head and neck injury when he lost control of his snowmobile and hit a tree. He was packaged onto the rescue sled and transported to an awaiting Hebgen Basin Fire Department ambulance. The ambulance transported him to a landing zone near West Yellowstone and the injured man was flown by an Air Idaho life-flight helicopter to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Sheriff Gootkin stated that even very proficient outdoor recreationers can have bad days. Everyone should be prepared for the unexpected with emergency gear and a partner. ###

Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Seizes Cattle


  The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office has seized and transported approximately 120 head of cows that appear to have been neglected. These cows are being held at the Headwaters Stockyard in Three Forks. The Sheriff’s Office has already received a number of phone calls from concerned citizens. These folks have generously offered donations of Hay and other services that may be needed.

  If you are interested in the donation of Hay please contact the Gallatin County Animal Control Officer at 580-4800. Other donation sites will be established at American Federal Savings Bank under Sheriff’s Cattle fund.

On February 21, 2014, personnel from Gallatin County Sheriffs SAR, the West Yellowstone Division and the U.S. Forest Service resumed the search for four lost snowmobilers in the West Yellowstone area.
On February 20th, a group of snowmobilers reported that they were lost and their snowmobiles were stuck. GPS coordinates revealed that they were in the West Fork of Cream Creek, which is southwest of West Yellowstone. A highly experienced search team worked hard during the night through severe weather conditions and dangerous terrain but was unable to get to the lost party.
The weather conditions were much better on the morning of February 21st. The search team left West Yellowstone at 8:20 a.m. and had located the lost snowmobilers within forty minutes. The lost party consisted of a 27-year-old male from Bruce, Wisconsin, a 28-year-old male who was also from Bruce, Wisconsin, a 30-year-old male from Sheldon, Wisconsin, and a 23-year-old male from Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin. The men were in good condition and did not require medical attention. For over an hour, the search team worked at digging out the group’s stuck snowmobiles and riding them out of a steep canyon. Once all of the snowmobiles were at a safe location, the entire group rode back to West Yellowstone.

Wisconsin Men Spend Night Out in Gallatin Backcountry


(West Yellowstone, Mont.) 2-21-14 0825 hrs

On Thursday February 20, 2014 at approximately 5:00 PM the Sheriff’s Office received a call about a group of lost and stuck snowmobilers in the West Fork of Cream Creek outside of West Yellowstone.  A group of six snowmobilers from out of state were snowmobiling on Two Top west of town when four members of the group decided to drop down into the Cream Creek area.  The two remaining members of the group decided not to and returned to West Yellowstone.  The group of four could not ride out of the area and broke a handlebar on one of the sleds.  The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff’s Search and Rescue West Yellowstone division were dispatched and responded.  The stuck group was able to call out on cell phones and a location for the group was determined.

The Search and Rescue team responded to the area and attempted to reach that location.  Sheriff’s Incident Commander Deputy Ted Quillen said, “When the Rescuers reached the area they encountered very steep, technical terrain, bad weather and significant avalanche danger.  After we talked with the missing snowmobilers by phone and made sure they were prepared to spend the night we decided it was prudent to not try and reach that area in the dark.”  The group had warm clothing, food and water, and had made a fire and was prepared to spend a long night in the wilderness.  An Incident Action Plan was developed for the following morning.  Five expert snowmobile riders on high powered sleds from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team are currently making their way back into the area.  

 The Gallatin County Sheriff would like to remind everyone to know your equipment and more importantly your limitations when enjoying all that Gallatin County has to offer.  The wilderness can be very demanding and unforgiving and should always be respected. Contact Sheriff Brian Gootkin at 406-582-2105

Big Sky Structure Fire

Big Sky FireAt approximately 11:07 AM on February 19, 2014, the Big Sky Fire Department was dispatched to the report of a structure fire at 545 Grouse Ridge Road, south of Big Sky.  The caller stated that there was a fire in the garage and that there was explosions coming from that area.

The location of the fire was on a steep, unplowed mountain road that required the first arriving engine to back up the roadway to gain access to the scene.  The next two arriving fire apparatus became stuck on the road, causing an initial inability to bring water to the scene (there are no fire hydrants in the area).

Firefighters arrived to find that the a large fire had extended from the garage area into the rest of the home itself, with flames and smoke showing from the second story eves.  Once the road was cleared, water tenders had to back up the roadway, one at a time, further hampering the delivery of water to the scene.  With the lack of an adequate water supply, and there being no automatic fire sprinklers in this home, the fire grew unabated despite the efforts of firefighters.  The home is a total loss.

An investigation of the incident by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Big Sky Fire revealed that an occupant of the home was spray painting a vehicle in the garage in the presence of a ceramic heater.  When the occupant attempted to refill the paint canister, the fumes were ignited by the heater, causing the fire.  The occupant attempted to put out the fire via various means before calling 911, delaying the dispatch of firefighters to the incident and allowing the fire to grow.

The Big Sky Fire Department was assisted by the Yellowstone Club Fire Department, the Gallatin Gateway Fire Department, the RAE/Sourdough Fire Department, the Central Valley Fire Department, the Hebgen Basin Fire Department, the Bozeman Fire Department, the Fort Ellis Fire Department, the Manhattan Fire Department and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

Damaged Mailboxes


  The mailboxes on Durston Road at Sage Bloom Court were damaged on the morning of Tuesday, February 11, 2014.  The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the United States Postal Service, believe that the mailboxes were damaged in an attempt to gain access to and steal mail. 

   At this time the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Postal Serves are still searching for the suspect(s).  If you have any information about who is responsible for this crime or if you know that you are missing mail or packages, please contact the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office at 406-582-2100 #2 to report the theft. 

   The Sheriff’s Office and the Postal Service ask the public to be aware of the possibility of identity theft in the event that any bank account information, pay stubs, checks, or tax documents were stolen.  Please remember to check for unauthorized charges or unlawful tax returns that could be filed in your name.  Please report any suspicious activity immediately.



Avalanche Near Big Sky Injures Bozeman Woman



On Sunday 2/16/14 at 1:00 p.m. the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received an emergency call regarding an injured skier in the area of Beehive Basin near Big Sky.  Sheriff’s Deputies along with members of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue from Big Sky and the Big Sky Fire Department responded.

It was found that a backcountry ski group was working their way up a trail in the Beehive Basin Drainage and an avalanche was triggered.  A 35 year old female from Bozeman sustained a leg injury when she was pushed into a tree by the avalanche and partially buried.  Two members of the group quickly located the victim and were able to dig her out with their shovels.  The victim was brought out of the backcountry by search and rescue personnel on skis and snowmobiles utilizing a specialized rescue sled. The patient was treated and released by Big Sky Fire Department.

It is important to know your snow conditions especially while backcountry skiing this time of year.  Working cell phones with each person is recommended and would have saved a lot of time with this particular incident. #####

Snowmobile Crash Sends Georgia Man to Hospital


On Friday February 7, 2014, at 11:07 a.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department received a report of a snowmobiler who hit a tree and was injured. The caller said that the injured snowmobiler was near the Madison Arm Resort, which is north of West Yellowstone.
Personnel from the Sheriffs Office and the West Yellowstone Division of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded. When they arrived on scene they found a 73-year-old male from Ringgole, Georgia, who had suffered a leg injury when he lost control of his snowmobile and hit a tree. He was packaged onto the rescue sled and transported to an awaiting Hebgen Basin Fire Department ambulance. He was then transported to the Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho.