KAMLOOPS - It was just before 11 p.m. on a cold December night when Kamloops Search and Rescue volunteers received a call about a missing hunter north of the Lac du Bois Grasslands.
Search manager Alan Hobler says his crew trudged out to the area in -15 C temperatures to help find the man. The hunter had told his father around noon on Sunday, Dec. 4, that he was going to his usual hunting spot.
He told his father he had an emergency survival kit with him and described the items inside it. Hobler says this was crucial information for the searchers and the hunter's preparedness got him through a long night.
"We felt he was probably just stuck in the snow, but still we wanted to err on the side of caution," Hobler says. "Because it was so cold you can’t assume what the case is. You want to find them as soon as possible."
The hunter had indeed gotten his truck stuck and was in an area that didn't have cell phone reception. Hobler says around 5 a.m. Monday, Dec. 5 he had flagged down a logger who was on his way to work.
The logger was able to pull the hunter's truck out so he could drive out to call his father and the RCMP.
"Our members were getting pretty close to where he was stuck," Hobler says. "We might have found him in an hour or two."
Hobler says to search the area, and the 1,000 kilometres of logging roads, could have taken a long time. He was in the process of requesting air service when they heard the hunter had been located.
Although the man, identified on social media as Austin Edward, ended up getting himself out, he took to Facebook to thank Kamloops Search and Rescue for its efforts.
"I didnt expect to get stuck on my way home," Edward wrote. "My dog and I are glad to be back home warm and safe. Next time I go out there will be better direction to where abouts I am."
EMERGENCY SURVIVAL KITS
Hobler says anyone who is travelling to hunt or hike should be prepared with an emergency survival kit. He suggests carrying "warning beacons" where you can send your latitude and longitude to either 911 or an emergency contact with the push of a button.
More than anything, Hobler says it's important to be prepared for the conditions you're heading into. He suggests going to this website where they recommend items for you to pack in your kit, depending on which activity you're doing.
He advises everyone to be well prepared for whatever activity or area they're going into, but adds search and rescue is there to help.
"There’s a misconception people who use search and rescue are idiots," Hobler says. "Sometimes people are embarrassed."
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