One of my hobbies is riding ATVs. In fact, this past Sunday and Tuesday I rode in Nemadji State Forest in Minnesota. Towards the end of my trip on Tuesday, I saw a Pine County Sheriff's Office pickup trick, Kerrick Fire Ambulance, and a Bruno fire truck parked near the side of the Gandy Dancer Trail. I stopped and one of the first responders told me about the missing hunter. As you can see in the article, he went hunting on Sunday and got lost. He wasn't rescued until Thursday morning.
Cell phone reception can be very spotty in Nemadji. I have been bringing both my Verizon smartphone AND an aT&T hotspot, which allows be to do wifi calling and texting. There are places in Nemadji State Forest where there is NO cell phone coverage from either carrier.
With that in mind, I have been considering buying a GPS for ATVing. I have given some thought to a Garmin Monterra. I am not sure if I would mount it on the handlebars or just keep it in storage until I need it. Anyway, I am interested in hearing from others hear what they would be inclined to do. I think having one that could be seen in bright sunlight would be a huge plus. It does look like the Garmin Monterra has been discontinued, though. Would it be risky buying a Garmin that has been discontinued?
Missing hunter found after 3 days in wooded area
PINE COUNTY, Minn. - A Lakeville man was rescued Thursday morning after being reported as missing for three days in the Nemadji Forest area of Pine County.
Authorities say they initially received a call on Tuesday morning from missing hunter, 61-year-old Robert Kniefel, of Lakeville, who said he got lost while grouse hunting. However, he was not able to talk long due to a limited cell phone signal.
Pine County deputies were dispatched to the area where they believed Kniefel made the call. They searched ATV trails and additional resources were called in from the Kerrick and Bruno fire departments.
Several searches were initiated but Kniefel was not found. A Pine County officer was able to exchange a few text messages with Kniefel before cell phone signal was lost again.
Authorities believed at that point, his cell phone had died.
Aerial, K-9 and several ground searches continued on Wednesday but Kniefel was not located.
On Wednesday evening, the State Patrol assisted in a night time search with thermal imaging equipment and located a person on an island with a fire, around 9 p.m.
However, when crews attempted to get to the person, through a swampy area, they were unsuccessful.
Then Thursday morning, a helicopter from the State Patrol located the missing hunter, with their rescue extraction team on board.
The rescue crew, the Minnesota Aerial Rescue Team, airlifted Kniefel with a rope/harness system and transported him to a farm field near Nickerson -- the helicopter was not able to land on the island.
Kniefel was reunited with family after being checked out by medical personnel. He had food and water with him, and said he rationed it as he knew help was searching for him.
Many years ago we were canoeing in the back country of northern New York. We canoed about ten miles up a little river to a pond with a campsite. The river was three feet deep and fifteen feet wide.
According to our quadrangle map, the river ran parallel to a state road about a half mile away. There was a small swampy area on the map between the river and the road. We planned in advance that if anything went wrong, we could always walk out to the road.
Nothing serious did go wrong, but we found there was no way anyone could walk to the road. The alders along that bank of the river completely blocked any passage to the road - there was no opening at all.
Not only that, there was no way to walk out the way we canoed in. The only way out would be to walk to higher ground deeper into the back country. It went about twenty miles back to another road. Once away from the river, without a GPS it is likely the map and compass alone would not be enough.
So we were in an area where the canoe was the only way out. Two things happened that we didn't plan on:
As we were sleeping at the campsite, we heard a pack of coyotes yipping and howling in the direction of the road, and then we heard the report of a rifle, about six shots that sounded so loud coming across the swamp in the middle of the night.
The next day, canoeing out, we passed a logjam and had to drag the canoe across. The logs were three feet in diameter and sixty feet long and there were about ten of them. Logging had been outlawed in the area over a century before, so they had been there that long.
The logjam had caused the river to scour the bottom underneath since there was a deep pool there. The logs were mostly under water with some dry spots sticking out. As I walked across dragging the canoe, I stepped on a piece of green slime, slipped and fell straight down. One leg went on one side of the log and the other leg on the other side.
I didn't feel too good after this, but we realized I could easily have fallen with both legs on one side of the log and been trapped underneath the logs!
We went into the back country for adventure and excitement and got more than we bargained for! A GPS would have been good to have but it is not a cure-all.
I do not hike in woods anymore, just around cities. I always carry my Montana on my belt. It records my track and I have needed it more than once to get back to my car.
Hiking or hunting in the woods is best done with a buddy. You never know what can go wrong. Fishing in Canada years ago, I walked in to a remote part of one of the fishing camps many lakes, and twisted my ankle. Glad I had a buddy to help me get back through the rougher areas and back to camp. Could have been bear food!
As Clint Eastwood said in one of the Dirty Harry movies (I think) "A man should know his limitations" (close enough quote). Sound advice.
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