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Helicopter, dogs sent to help search for missing hunter, who was safe at home

Wes Bunch • Apr 16, 2013 at 10:20 AM

DUFFIELD — A search crew organized to locate a hunter reported missing Monday afternoon in Scott County turned out not to be needed after the man was found to be safe at home.

According to local authorities, Scott County Central Dispatch received a report of a missing hunter on Cliff Mountain near Duffield around 2:30 p.m. from a member of the man’s hunting party and began mobilizing a search and rescue crew.

The search effort was called off around 5:10 p.m., authorities said.

The effort involved members of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Duffield Fire and Rescue and the Gate City Volunteer Fire Department. A Virginia State Police helicopter and a K9 tracking team from an area prison were also dispatched to aid in the effort.

Local authorities said the helicopter had just arrived at the organizing area when the missing man’s friends called to report he had been found.

According to authorities familiar with the incident, the 50-year-old man became lost shortly after the friends he was turkey hunting with dropped him off at a location in the woods near Duffield early Monday morning.

The man’s friends became concerned several hours after he failed to show up at a rendezvous point and contacted authorities to report him as missing.

The man in question reportedly told authorities that he got turned around in the woods and walked for “seven or eight hours” before he could locate his vehicle. Once his truck was located, the man reportedly drove home, thinking his friends had already left, instead of going back on the mountain and checking for them.

The other members of the hunting party were reportedly riding back roads in the area attempting to locate him when he called one of the men and told them he was at home.

Although the search effort didn’t pan out, authorities said they felt the men searching for their lost friend took the correct actions.

“It was still a good outcome, some searches don’t have good outcomes, but this one did,” one search team member said. “The guys did the right thing. They hunted for him until they thought they had exhausted their attempts, and then they called.”

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