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Man recounts hunting trip rescue in the Beartooth Mountains

Mike MIller for web.jpg
Posted at 8:43 AM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 10:43:46-04

A Lockwood hunter is recounting the tale of how he got lost, then found, during a recent hunt in the Beartooth Mountains.

Mike Miller became separated from his buddy, Jared Brooks, on a bow hunting trip for elk in Carbon County earlier this month. Miller teaches survival skills and used his training to get them through the cold night.

The Carbon County Search and Rescue helped find Miller, who lives in Lockwood, on Monday, Sept. 13.

"I was quite surprised to tell you the truth," Miller said. "Kind of one of the best wake-up calls you ever heard. 'Mike, Mike Miller.' Yeah. We've been looking for you while.' I've been here and Jared gives me a big old hug and, like, what's up dude. Did you get some bad news or something? Totally surprised that I was lost. I didn't know I was lost. "

Mike Miller.jpg
Mike Miller

Brooks, who's from the Denver area, was concerned because of Miller's health issues.

"So he contacted my wife via GPS with the text messaging, like 'I haven't seen Mike, I don't know where Mike is,'" Miller said. "So, their concern was my health issues that maybe I got knocked off the trail I had had a spasm or was paralysis and I got, you know, I went off the trail."

"Apparently, I was on the wrong trail and Jared was on the right trail. When I got to the lake about 2:30 or 3, didn't observe him, I started prepping for the night. So gathering wood, making sure, get my fire started. And I tell people this all the time is no matter what technology you have with you, make sure you have a backup plan. A plan, have a plan, have a plan."

While he did not realize he was lost, Miller says he knew what was needed to make it through the night.

"I've got a background in surviving," Miller said. "And I'm also a bowhunter, and hunters' ed instructor for the state of Montana. So one of the things we teach everybody is a stop, set, think, observe and plan."

After getting rescued, they finished the week-long hunting trip, and stories about Mike Miller missing made him recognizable.

"We met these two people hunting for moose and we told them what we saw one," Miller said. "And the guy looks over me and he's like, 'Hey. Aren't you the guy on that Q2 story? Aren't we supposed to be looking for you?' Like, yeah, but you found me."