Posted on Jun 06, 2018
Dave Boelke, shown in full "hunter's orange", with rifle and backpack, just as he wore setting out to hunt elk in Colorado.  Dave's father introduced him to elk hunting in 1973.  He's made annual trips to continue the tradition. He wanted a more intense experience so in 2016 he booked a "deep camp" trip with an outfitter. He planned to spend a week with another hunter in a cabin about four hours by horseback from the outfitter's base camp.  It was November at an altitude above 10,000 feet.  On the first morning, he and his fellow hunter made a plan to rendezvous at a selected landmark about 3hrs away.  Dave planned to circle right, his partner would circle left, both men looking for signs of movement by elk or bears.  Dave overshot the landmark and after a while realized the cold night was quickly approaching.  His backpack had all the normal equipment"  gps, compass, snacks, matches, water, mirror and Kindle ebook reader. He built a fire and planned to head back in the morning. He refused to panic.  The gps, which Dave had depended on to navigate the forest, had a dead battery.  Without that device he had no idea which way it was to the cabin. He decided to stay put until he was rescued. Dave's hunting buddy reported him lost the next morning.  Eventually Dave saw the helicopters and moved in their direction. The search party that grew to 43 people and ten helicopters took three days to see the shimmering reflection off Dave's mirror.  Dave was hungry and dehydrated but otherwise OK. Dave plans to add fresh batteries to his emergency kit.