A pair of hunters were rescued early Monday morning after getting disoriented in the Coyote Ridge area.
Several Umatilla County Search and Rescue members arrived on the scene after getting a report of two hunters who had been lost for more than three hours in the dark.
According to the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO), 911 dispatch received a call around 7:40 p.m. on Sunday from Bruce Bryan, 64, of Oregon City. Bryan said he and his grandson, Jesse Bryan, 17, were elk hunting and had hiked down a ridge from the Coyote Ridge Trailhead to the river and realized they were turned around.
They were unable to locate the trail and walked in circles looking for it. Lt. Sterrin Ward of the UCSO said the two hunters had been in the river four times and tried to use their GPS but were unable to get a reliable signal. The pair climbed out of the drainage area to get cell service and called 911. They were wet and cold and unable to get a fire started because everything was wet.
Search and Rescue volunteers Bob Carrell, Dottie Carrell, and Shari Mueller responded to the trailhead and located the hunter’s vehicle. Searchers Tom Phelan, Scott Schuening and Sgt. Dwight Johnson drove to Bingham Road, then began hiking toward the lost hunters. Phelan, Schuening and Johnson hiked for approximately four hours through snow, washed-out areas from the spring floods, fallen trees, thick brush and waded across Coyote Creek before locating the hunters.
The men were located about 3 a.m. and were cold and wet, but not injured. They all walked out and arrived at their vehicles about 8:30 a.m.
Bryan said they were completely disoriented and did not think they would have found their way out without the Search and Rescue team.