Officers respond to hunter lost in Little Belt blizzard
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: November 18, 2022
On October 23, around noon, US Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Zac Norris responded to a 911 call of a lost hunter in the Little Belt Mountains near Yogo Peak. In blizzard conditions Norris loaded up a side-by-side and met the Judith Basin County Undersheriff Richard Hayes and Montana Game Warden Tylor Keeley at Dry Wolf Campground as a search and rescue team mobilized.
Warden Tylor Keeley and LEO Zac Norris were able to get within a mile and a half of the GPS coordinates given from the 911 call. Heavy snow drifts forced them to leave their side-by-side and hike the final mile and a half toward the lost hunter. Hitting the saddle of the mountain they came across some of the hunter’s supplies. Despite nearly a complete white out with winter conditions they observed some old tracks in the snow. They continued in the direction of the tracks and headed towards the tree line which seemed like it might be providing shelter to the lost hunter.
Skirting the top of the tree line, they called out to the hunter with no response. It was now 4:30 p.m. and they heard a sound – a gunshot. They headed in the direction of sound to find the hunter on an open slope battling blizzard conditions. The hunter told them he had been shooting every 10 minutes, but it was only when they were within 100 yards of him that they could finally hear the shot.
As it grew dark, winter conditions grew worse. Fortunately, they were able to get him back to their side-by-side with the rest of the SAR team. Once they made it back to the Incident Command Post headed up by Undersheriff Hayes, the hunter was transported back to town by ambulance.
LEO Zac Norris has already responded to another search and rescue of a missing hunter in the past 24 hours and wants to remind folks of how disorientating fast changing mountain conditions can be.
Please always carry emergency supplies (extra food, water, navigational equipment, extra layers), and tell someone where you’ll be going and what time you’ll be back. One other thing he emphasizes is staying put once the call to 911 is made. LEO Norris wishes to thank the many folks involved in this coordinated effort who helped ensure Tylor and him remained safe and in communication.
Photo of Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Zac Norris and the hunter making it through deep snow drifts on October 23. Photo taken by Montana Game Warden Tylor Keeley (you cannot see the wind in this photo, but it was fierce).