The RCMP is providing a detailed account on how officers rescued a hunter in a remote area South of Patuanak this past Novemer.

Mounties say on November 14 they received a report about a missing 60-year-old man who was hunting with a friend, but had gone missing in thick woods trying to reach back to the main road.

Cst. Kirk Ingham of the Patuanak RCMP Detachment led the search response.

“(The missing man) wasn’t new to the bush, but anytime someone’s not heard from in the wilderness, it’s a big deal,” said Cst. Ingham in a media release sent out by the RCMP. “Based on the community response, wanting to help, they knew this was a dire situation. If he wasn’t found that night, the situation would be different in the morning.”

Multiple RCMP officers and a member of the Canadian Rangers began the search for the missing man.

“We didn’t really have too much to go off of. One guy who’d seen him that day, which was his hunting buddy there,” said Cst. Ingham. “He did have a few survival equipment with him. A little bit of equipment to make a fire, he had a machete. He only had one bottle of water and a thermos full of tea as far as liquids go, so we figured he was running low on that.”

They tried communicating with the missing man again and after no response two officers entered the wooded area to see if they could hear any verbal calls.

“Northern Saskatchewan can be very treacherous, even for an experienced person,” said Ingham. “Being so far north, we get dark extremely quick. By the time we got the call, it was already completely dark. No ambient light coming in. The sun had set and was long set. We knew we had to get out there right away, because as the sun stays set, even when we have a mild day, temperature-wise, when night rolls around and that sun goes away, it can get extremely cold.”

Luckily being winter, bears are hibernating and not a concern. However, the RCMP said Wolves were a concern during the search, as they grow large and had been seen in the area.

After ten minutes of walking in the trees, the two RCMP officers used a flare to indicate to the man where they were coming from and tried making verbal communication with him. It was around this time that one of the officers, Cst. Zach Mann, heard something.

“We had a couple flares and followed the trail and called out his name. We followed the trail. 2- 300 yards in, we started hearing a faint response to our calls,” said Mann.

After following the sound of the missing man’s voice for some time, the two officers eventually located the missing man.

“You could tell he was soaking wet, was asking for water,” remembers Cst. Mann. “We were able to follow our path back. There was a lot of deadfall. Its easy to lose your trail if you’re not careful. (Cst. Ingham) flipped on the (police vehicle) sirens a few times to help with sense of direction.”

The missing man was able to slowly walk out of the forest on his own with the two officers and was given a warm ride back to the community by family.

Cst. Ingham spoke highly on the teamwork involved to make sure the missing hunter was found as well as to ensure the officers were safe in their search. He also recalled the reactions when he provided updates from his radio to everyone waiting roadside.

“Even his hunting buddy who’s one of his really good friends, when I said that we can hear him, they’re hearing his voice, they found him, they’re in there, we’re going to make sure he’s safe. I could see the smile come back for the first time since we were out there, knowing his friend was going to be safe and he was located.”

(Photos Provided by the RCMP.)