Searches successful for three hunters reported missing

Posted Nov. 11, 2008, at 8:45 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 5:54 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Personnel from the Maine Warden Service were busy late Monday and early Tuesday searching for three hunters reported missing in two counties.

All three were found safe and sound.

Two of the hunters, a father and son from Rockwood, were located on the shore of Moosehead Lake in Piscataquis County, according to Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Charlie McGinnis and his son Caleb had crossed Moosehead Lake from Rockwood to get to their favorite hunting spot, Turcotte said. While they were hunting, the wind picked up and the men went to shore to pull their boat out of the lake.

Water came over the stern, swamping the motor, according to Turcotte. The McGinnises were reported overdue at 6 a.m. Tuesday by Charlie McGinnis’ brother Mark McGinnis. Three wardens, Mark McGinnis and several members of the Rockwood Fire Department mounted a search.

The hunters were located less than two hours later by Warden Pilot Daryl Gordon, who spotted the men from the seaplane he was flying. He went to get them with the help of the Rockwood Fire Department.

According to Warden Mike Favreau, who was involved in the search, the men “did everything right” by removing their boat from the water, finding a camp to stay in overnight and leaving a note to alert the camp owner that they had stayed there.

A third hunter was found safe, though cold and hungry, about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Bowtown Township in Somerset County, according to Warden Rick Clowry.

Doug Burdo, 55, of Jay was reported missing late Monday night by members of his hunting party, Clowry said.

The warden said Burdo became lost in rugged terrain between Bowtown Road and the Kennebec River and spent the night in the woods. He was reported missing about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday by others in his hunting party, the warden said.

Though Clowry did not bring a compass into the woods with him, he did have matches and started a fire to keep warm overnight.

Two wardens began searching soon after the call. Others were being called in when Burdo walked out of the woods to Bowtown Road early Tuesday morning, Clowry said. The hunter was able to find his way to the road by following the sounds of logging trucks. A logger picked him up about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, and wardens were notified he was safe.

Turcotte said Tuesday that so far this year, the Warden Service has responded to more than 375 calls for lost or overdue people, ranging from hunters and hikers to children and people suffering from dementia.

The number of such calls is putting a strain on the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s resources, given the state’s current budget crunch, Turcotte said.

To that end, the state’s game wardens advise those who are planning a trip into the woods or other rough territory to inform others of their planned routes, including any route changes along the way or if they will be late returning. Hunters, hikers and others should bring with them such basic supplies as food, water, matches and cell phones, and fresh batteries for any electronic gear such as handheld GPS units.

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