Grand County hunters don’t need Search and Rescue after all
A couple of potentially serious incidents involving hunters almost required Grand County, Colorado, Search and Rescue to deploy to the backcountry recently.
At noon on Saturday, Oct. 18, Deputy Dale Schmidt was on patrol when he heard a radio message from the Grand County Dispatch Center that paged Search and Rescue. The dispatcher said an 83-year-old man was experiencing health problems in the area of County Road 27 and the rescue team would need to bring ATVs to reach the stricken man’s location.
As Deputy Schmidt was responding to the scene, a second message came in over his radio requesting that Search and Rescue stand down. The dispatcher reported the patient had already been brought out to the road and a Grand County EMS ambulance had arrived to treat him.
Arriving at the location of County Road 27, Deputy Schmidt met with the 83-year-old man, Joel Krass of Centennial. Krass explained he was hunting in the area, but began to feel unwell after he apparently became dehydrated. Some passing hunters found him, gave him some fluids to drink and brought him out of the backcountry. He claimed to be feeling fine now and refused a medical transport to Kremmling Memorial Hospital.
Grand County Search and Rescue was also alerted for action the next day, but was told once again to stand down after the incident was resolved in another way.
About 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19, Sgt. Neal McQuarie was on patrol when a dispatcher radioed him about a lost hunter being reported on Forest Service Road 104 near Chimney Rock in western Grand County.
Sgt. McQuarie immediately called the 9-1-1 caller to get more information. He contacted 31-year-old Michael Finely of Silverthorne who explained that he and his 27-year-old wife Tasha Finely had been hunting when they became separated in the woods.
Michael said Tasha had not found her way back to their campsite and was apparently lost. Because it was now dark and the temperature was falling, he was worried because Tasha did not have any heavy clothing, food or other survival gear with her.
Michael also told Sgt. McQuarie that he and the other members of their hunting party were still out looking for Tasha, but had not been able to find her after a couple of hours of searching.
As Sgt. McQuarie began driving to Finely’s location at Chimney Rock, he phoned Grand County Search and Rescue leader Greg Foley to request that one of his teams be prepared to deploy to help with the search. He gave Foley the cell phone number for Michael Finely to get further information.
Just before he arrived at Chimney Rock, Sgt. McQuarie received a call from Foley who reported that Tasha had just been found by other members of her hunting party and that she was uninjured.
Arriving at the hunting party’s location, Sgt. McQuarie met with the Finelys. Tasha said she was “OK, just cold.”
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