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Always carry your gear - lost hunter found...

Andy in NH

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Overdue Hunter Located in Northwood

Date: 11/15/2023

Author: nhfishandgame

CONTACT:
From the New Hampshire Fish and Game

Sgt. Geoff Pushee
(603) 271-3361
November 15, 2023

Northwood, NH – On Tuesday November 11, 2023 at 9:30 p.m., NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers received a call from the Northwood Police Department in regards to an overdue hunter off of Saddleback Mountain Road. A landowner who gave a hunter permission to hunt his property called the Police Department because he was concerned that the hunter had not come out of the woods yet. Upon notification, Conservation Officers, Northwood and Deerfield Police Departments responded to try to locate the hunter who was identified as 67-year-old Nicholas Marshall of Chester, NH.
When responders arrived, the landowner was able to show them Marshall’s tree stand where all of his gear was found at the base of the tree. It was quickly determined that Marshall had shot a deer and was probably tracking it. A NH Fish and Game K-9 was deployed to follow the track but was unsuccessful in finding Marshall. Officers also utilized their firearm to try to signal Marshall multiple times, but did not get a response. After hours of searching at 1:30 a.m., voice contact was made with Marshall and then he was quickly located. Marshall was uninjured and was able to walk out of the woods under his own power.
Upon interviewing Marshall about what happened, he said that he left all of his gear behind, to include his flashlight and cell phone, because he thought he was going to find the deer quickly. He kept following the deer deeper and deeper in the large tract of woods that is Saddleback Mountain and was overtaken by darkness, when he made the decision that he was going to spend the night in the woods. Marshall also misplaced his firearm while walking around in the dark, which is why he was unable to signal back to officers.
This is a good reminder to all hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to always be prepared, and to have your gear available no matter the situation. Marshall had all the gear he needed to either get himself out of the woods on his own or to make a call for help, but unfortunately he did not have that gear on him when he needed it the most.
 
my Niece has taken up hiking in some real back ass places, like the bottom of the Grand Canyon alone after dark type of stuff.

I told my S.I.L. a EPIRB type Personal Locator Device ( PLB) would make a practical Christmas present for her.
 
my Niece has taken up hiking in some real back ass places, like the bottom of the Grand Canyon alone after dark type of stuff.

I told my S.I.L. a EPIRB type Personal Locator Device ( PLB) would make a practical Christmas present for her.
Coming from a slightly different perspective. My need was to monitor my health. I shelled out a bunch of bills to purchase a Garmin Epix Pro Gen 2. It's one of those fancy "indestructible" outdoor fitness watches. Since your niece is out in places where there is a possibility that she may become disoriented in her surroundings, perhaps this watch can check off more of her needs than just the one category of "use in case of emergency".

In this particular case the function of GPS and tracking software that is built in (and has maps of the entire US preloaded). You click once when you start your trek and it tracks your route down to as a close as 3 feet wherever you go. You can backtrack at any time, you can also save your route for future reference. There's even a "hunting" mode specifically for hunters that lays down waypoints to store locations of game activity. It would have certainly been of use for the hunter; with all the stuff he left behind chasing the deer, it is doubtful he would have taken off his watch.
 
Some years back my brothers and I came across a young kid in VT who was lost. He was rattled to the core and spoke gibberish at times. Come with us we said. We got him in our truck and said lets get you back to where you belong. We drove for quite awhile and I asked him do you know for sure where you came from? Yes he said but I don't recognize anything yet so on we drove. Suddenly he says I know where I am. We get to a house where he says his Uncle lives (as I remember) and he seems all set. We look at a map and realize this kid crossed 2 mountains and a river to get to where we found him. He had to have been running to cover that much ground in less than a day.
 
Luck was on his side this time, glad he made it out......hopefully he learns something from his multiple, potentially fatal mistakes.
He did,we made sure of it. When we first came upon him he was a bit out of it. He says to us " I fired signal shots but there was no retaliation" My brother puts his head down because he doesn't want the kid to see him chuckling but It was funny, for us but not for the kid. We did drive back to our spot and resumed hunting.
 
He did,we made sure of it. When we first came upon him he was a bit out of it. He says to us " I fired signal shots but there was no retaliation" My brother puts his head down because he doesn't want the kid to see him chuckling but It was funny, for us but not for the kid. We did drive back to our spot and resumed hunting.
I think you meant the Northfield hunter LOL.
 
He did,we made sure of it. When we first came upon him he was a bit out of it. He says to us " I fired signal shots but there was no retaliation" My brother puts his head down because he doesn't want the kid to see him chuckling but It was funny, for us but not for the kid. We did drive back to our spot and resumed hunting.
My response was for the OP, but yes that kid was lucky too.
A young kid making mistakes and going out in the woods for a hike and getting lost is almost understandable, but a 67 year old guy with all the gear to hunt and maybe for a night in the woods then leaving it ALL by a tree is just negligence.
 
I got lost for a few hours doing almost the same thing, but chasing a grouse around the woods. Thankfully I eventually hit a road but it could have gone horribly bad as the temps got down in to the 20's that night and I was wearing bird hunting gear. Now when I'm out running around like a dumb fudd chasing birds in the woods I have a pack with everything I need to get me through a night.
 
I got lost for a few hours doing almost the same thing, but chasing a grouse around the woods. Thankfully I eventually hit a road but it could have gone horribly bad as the temps got down in to the 20's that night and I was wearing bird hunting gear. Now when I'm out running around like a dumb fudd chasing birds in the woods I have a pack with everything I need to get me through a night.
At a minimum, carry a 4-7 mil contractor's trash bag. You can cut a head hole in it and stuff it full of leaves and it will keep the wind and rain off you.

When doing k9 search and rescue, we used to suggest carrying one of those large orange Halloween pumpkin bags.....easy to see and can be stuffed with plenty of insulation (leaves).
 
I got lost for a few hours doing almost the same thing, but chasing a grouse around the woods. Thankfully I eventually hit a road but it could have gone horribly bad as the temps got down in to the 20's that night and I was wearing bird hunting gear. Now when I'm out running around like a dumb fudd chasing birds in the woods I have a pack with everything I need to get me through a night.
even a small pack with a bivy sack and a puffer jacket, some extra granola bars, lighter, spare knife, flashlight or preferably a headlamp, whistle and a compass will make a huge difference in surviving
 
I used to use this story as a motivation for will to survive, knowing your equipment and how to use it, while teaching back in the 80s and 90s.

Video interview here:

A hunter who disappeared during a snowstorm and was...​



GREENVILLE, Maine -- A hunter who disappeared during a snowstorm and was given up for dead two weeks ago was reunited today with two of his children at the hospital where he was being treated for frostbite.

George Westcott, 52, a restaurant owner from Swansea, Mass., was reported in 'remarkably good condition' after limping out of the woods Monday with the help of a wood walking stick.

Westcott underwent treatment today for frostbite, said Ralph Gabarro, administrator for Charles Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

'It hasn't been determined yet whether he will lose any toes. We expect him to stay a couple of days here and then go back home,' Gabarro said.

Westcott met privately this morning with two sons but refused any other visitors.

Westcott was last seen Nov. 15 trekking through dense forest with four companions during an early winter storm on the southern edge of Moosehead Lake.

Authorities had given him up for dead after a massive week-long search.

A telephone company employee found him walking along a gravel logging road Monday limping with a cane, carrying a flashlight around his neck, a blanket over his shoulder and stockings on his hands.

He said he had wandered for four days through foot-deep snow after being separated from his hunting party and spent the rest of the time holed up in hunting cabins, waiting for warmer weather.

'He asked me if I'd give him a ride to town,' said Roland Peterson, who had been checking phone lines in the area.

'I said, 'Are you who I think you are? Have you been lost in the woods?' He said, 'Yes.' And I said, 'I'd be delighted to give you a ride,'' Peterson said.

'We knew he was coming back,' said Victor Goff, manager of Westcott's restaurant. 'He was just one tough sucker. I didn't see how he couldn't get out of the woods, unless he was shot.'

Westcott was taken to Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville where doctors said he was suffering from frostbite on both feet, but was otherwise in good health.

'He's in good stable condition, remarkably good condition considering his ordeal,' said hospital administrator Ralph Gabarro. 'He does have frostbite on both feet which has been initially treated by a physician. Other than that, there are no real problems.'
 
The big woods is no joke picked up a father and his young son one night in the Adirondack's about two hours after dark in a crazy snow squall on a logging road. They had supposedly jumped a buck near last light went after it and got turned around. They finally made it out to a log road but problem was they had no clue which way the parked truck was. It was about 3 miles the other way from way they were walking. Father was pretty shaken up and was obviously upset with him self for that but luckily turned out ok and happy for me to have come by in the truck.
 
I carry enough deer hunting to spend a night in woods. In addition to things noted above in other posts, I have fluids I plan to drink that day, plus one quart. Then I have the means to boil more.

The other thing I carry is TWO good compasses. old Silva / B.S.A. Orienteering compasses. One is in shirt pocket, other in hard case in pack. Everyone assumes back up compass is in case first one breaks, but it is for those instances where I am SURE I know which direction to go, but the compass tells me the the opposite. You assume compass is wrong. Even when the second compass confirms the first, I found it hard to follow compass heading and was surprised when I came out on logging road I was heading toward. This was north of Katadin Mt in Maine, and in the other direction was 20 miles of woods and Canada. I started two compass carry in early 80s after reading an analysis of interviews ( of survivors) of how experienced woodsmen got lost. Surprising theme was that when you really don’t know you got turned around and you think you know where you are heading, experienced woodsmen assumed something is wrong with compass.

Two fast tips:

1. There are still places in northeast without cell coverage. GPS beats phone. My son learned driving from Boston to ski area in southern VT directions on your phone didnt do it.

2. Second worst thing you can do is go alone into woods and not leave word where you are going. The worst thing is to leave detailed info then do something else. I still feel bad about a hiker whose car was right where it was suppose to be. Search was concentrated on mounted she intended to climb. The body was found across road on different mountain by hunters later in year A few miles away
 
A few things I do.....I moved my climber spot about 50 feet down another trail, told a bubby I moved even a few feet in the dark makes a difference. When I am sitting I place a orange flag up above me, so if I fall out it still marks the tree I am under.

After I make my climb I clip my back pack to my rope, but leave my back pack on the ground, If I fall out and I am injured I can at least have my pack on the ground with me, not looking up 14-15 feet the tree at it.

I carry a wool blanket and use it when I am in the climber as a wind break and to keep warm, but if I get lost or injured I can use it to stay warm till help arrives, trash bag I always have but stuffing it full of leaves I really like that idea.

I always have my radio with me, I can hit my dispatch tower in town and as a first responder I can contact C8 and guide help to me if needed as I don't have cell service where I have my climber.

I keep my keys with me and spares hidden on the truck. Nothing would be worse than getting back to your truck and not being able to get in or start it.

I keep a knife on me, but not my skinning one, that stays in my back pack, forces me to bring it when I get a deer.

I am not very far into the woods but you can still get into trouble even a few hundred feet in, been doing the same thing for 15 years now and works for me.
 
I carry enough deer hunting to spend a night in woods. In addition to things noted above in other posts, I have fluids I plan to drink that day, plus one quart. Then I have the means to boil more.

The other thing I carry is TWO good compasses. old Silva / B.S.A. Orienteering compasses. One is in shirt pocket, other in hard case in pack. Everyone assumes back up compass is in case first one breaks, but it is for those instances where I am SURE I know which direction to go, but the compass tells me the the opposite. You assume compass is wrong. Even when the second compass confirms the first, I found it hard to follow compass heading and was surprised when I came out on logging road I was heading toward. This was north of Katadin Mt in Maine, and in the other direction was 20 miles of woods and Canada. I started two compass carry in early 80s after reading an analysis of interviews ( of survivors) of how experienced woodsmen got lost. Surprising theme was that when you really don’t know you got turned around and you think you know where you are heading, experienced woodsmen assumed something is wrong with compass.

Two fast tips:

1. There are still places in northeast without cell coverage. GPS beats phone. My son learned driving from Boston to ski area in southern VT directions on your phone didnt do it.

2. Second worst thing you can do is go alone into woods and not leave word where you are going. The worst thing is to leave detailed info then do something else. I still feel bad about a hiker whose car was right where it was suppose to be. Search was concentrated on mounted she intended to climb. The body was found across road on different mountain by hunters later in year A few miles away
That's really the first worst thing.... going alone and anonymous. Someone should know your time out into the woods, destination/location if known, expected time of return.
Unless you are hunting/hiking in a group and everyone is keeping account of one another, someone "in the rear" who has a clue should be notified of your plans and expected return....along with an "over due" time to notify a search party.

Anyone venturing out into the wilderness should have some modicum of training/knowledge of what they are doing and how to survive the elements should they get lost, injured or both. The pioneers of yesteryear did it and survived with much less than what is available today.

With all of today's modern clothing/fabrics, weather forecasting, gadgets and other available information, there's no excuse for going out into the wilderness unprepared or ignorant.
 
I hunt sitting in a camp chair on the side of a hill about a mile from our hunting camp. Got a 4 point buck this year.

No deer dragging. I pulled out the 2-way Talkman, called for the ATV, gutted the deer, my best friends transported it back to camp on the ATV, and took it to be processed.

It's the only way to hunt. But, I still carry a compass, whistle, food, hot tea, space blanket, lighter, rain poncho, a lap blanket, orange plastic survey tape, and extra batteries for the flashlight and radio.

And the buck lure works!
 
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