On November 19, 2013, at approximately 7:00 PM, a 27 year-old West Yellowstone resident called 911 reporting that he was lost. The male was only able to call 911 on his cell phone and the phone’s battery was nearly dead so dispatch could not get an accurate location on his phone. The male stated that he had been dropped off at Highway 20 and Madison Arm Road at approximately 1:30 PM by his girlfriend. He told dispatch that he had been hunting and tracking game animals and had become lost and didn’t know which direction to go to get out of the woods. He said that he was on a heavily used roadway and he thought that he was near the lake. He was advised to stay where he was. The male’s girlfriend was out in her vehicle looking for him, but they could not find each other. The girlfriend was contacted and advised to return to her residence. The hunter had no provisions with him, (food, water, light, fire starter) but was wearing warm “hunting” clothing appropriate for the time of year.
The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue was activated and responded along with a Gallatin County Deputy Sheriff. A Montana Wildlife Fish and Parks Game Warden and a Yellowstone National Park Ranger also assisted in the search. Members searched the area known as the “North Flats”, which is an area between Hwy 191 and Hwy 20 and Madison Arm Road. Members searched by vehicle and ATV.
At approximately 8:50 PM members of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue located the lost hunter near the West Yellowstone Airport on a Forest Service road. The hunter was uninjured and required no medical treatment. The male was transported back to West Yellowstone and returned home.
The Gallatin County Sheriff would like to remind everyone to always plan and prepare to spend at least one night in the woods when enjoying the outdoors. Even if you only plan on being gone for a few hours, you never know when it will turn into an extended stay.