A 70-year-old hunter spent the night in the woods of northern Piscataquis County after getting disoriented while chasing a grouse he shot.
Maine Warden Service workers found Maurice Pelletier, of Caribou, on Thursday after he disappeared in Township 10, Range 10 on Wednesday afternoon while hunting alone, warden service officials said in a statement released Friday.
Pelletier left his Jeep running and with the door open and shot down a grouse on Wednesday. He saw a second bird, followed it into the woods and shot it down but then couldn’t find his way back to his vehicle, officials said.
Pelletier handled the situation well. He built himself a fire, cut himself some fir boughs ― likely used as bedding or shelter ― and had food with him overnight. A group of hunters found the Jeep, its engine still running, on Thursday morning and called the warden service, officials said.
Game Warden Preston Pomerleau and his tracking dog, Gordon, found signs of Pelletier, including remnants of his campsite and food. Nine other game wardens on the search called in a warden service airplane to assist, which Pelletier heard. He was in a clearing in the forest building a signal fire when Warden Pilot Jeff Spencer found him, officials said.
Pelletier was well-prepared for his adventure, said Maine Warden Service Lieutenant Tom Ward, who warned other hunters to always tell others when and where they will be hunting in case they get lost in the woods.
And hunters should always be prepared to camp overnight.
“If Mr. Pelletier was not as prepared as he was, this could have had a much worse outcome,” Ward said.