At least four hunters have gone missing in the few weeks since bow season opened in Montana and Idaho. Two were found fine, one was badly injured with a broken leg and another was found deceased less than a mile from where authorities located his truck.
The woods can turn dangerous and even the most skilled outdoorsman can end up in a tough spot.
In the case of Rob Carter, the missing bowhunter from Kalispell, Beaverhead County authorities had no indication of what direction Carter had gone in. A simple note on the dashboard could have helped narrow the search, which covered a 40 square-mile area in all directions from Carter’s vehicle. Without an idea of a staring place, authorities generally inititate a grid search pattern, which can take a while to execute depending on terrain.
A GPS spot beacon that tracks a traveler’ location and can be activated in case of an emergency is also a useful tool to have at the ready and costs $200-$300.
For missing bowhunters, camoflauge can be a great detriment to aerial and even ground searchers. Looking like a leaf is a good thing when it comes to getting close to animals, but makes it hard for searchers to distinguish hunter from deadfall in certain terrain.
For added safety measure, bowhunters can carry a hunter’s orange vest that can be donned if an emergency arises to increase visibility.
Carrying first aid gear is also a good idea when hunting alone, in case of an accident.
Hunters can also increase their chances of survival in event of unforseen circumstances by always letting someone know where they will be hunting and when they will return.