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Search and rescue crews locate lost Butte shed antler hunters

Posted at 8:58 AM, Mar 30, 2022

BUTTE — Butte’s 15/90 Search and Rescue team was able to find two hikers who became lost Monday evening while out searching for shed elk antlers in a wooded area northwest of Butte.

“They were thoroughly lost, they had no idea where they were and they were about to spend the night,” said 15/90 Search and Rescue Commander Brad Belke.

The two Butte men began hiking in the Hail Columbia Gulch area about 5 p.m. in the evening and managed to call 911 just before 9 p.m. when they got lost.

A team of about 32 searchers found them before midnight, just before a blizzard blew into the area.

“And as we were getting them into the vehicles, a sleet storm hit and it got really wet, really fast,” he said.

Though the missing men had very little equipment with them, they were able to build a large fire before they were found.

“I think they would have survived the night without any difficulty, but it would have been a miserable night because the wind by that point was just screaming down the hill,” said Belke.

The terrain in the area is very rough without many roads or trails, so searchers had to conduct much of the search on foot.

“The terrain was so terrible, we lost phones as soon as we started up the mountain out there. There’s no road there to take you, there’s no trail there to take you, everything turned about being cross country,” said Belke.

No injuries were reported in the incident.