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Monday, March 19, 2018

Photo courtesy of Amy Lewis

Three hunters brought out of badlands by helicopter

By Yellowstone Newspapers Staff

Three hunters – none of whom were named – went through quite an ordeal before being rescued in the Badlands north of Terry.

They were found at midnight on the night of Nov. 4, five hours after the call to the Prairie County Sheriff’s Office from Fallon County Dispatch.

The trio of hunters, one of whom was injured, reportedly entered the area between Lost Boy Creek and the North Fork of the creek, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department.

“This was going to require as much help as possible and we had no time to waste with the late time of day, and temperatures dropping fast,” Prairie County Sheriff Keifer Lewis wrote. TTop that with the fact that the hunters were ill-prepared to face a night in the Badlands without help.

The hunters were going after a wounded deer and had no plans to be out away from their vehicle for that amount of time. They were not dressed for the dropping temperatures nor did they have any fire-making materials.

Although the rescuers were just 1.7 miles away, it would take several hours to get to the hunters.

When they did, they found a young girl with the hunting group. She was shivering uncontrollably, a sure sign of hypothermia, Sheriff Lewis noted.

The rescuers gathered firewood to start a fire that would warm the hunters and rescuers. Then, options of departure were discussed – walking out, getting horses for a morning rescue or having a helicopter take everyone out of the Badlands in the morning.

The latter plan was selected and the hunters and rescuers were tucked in for the night. An aircrew was put on alert and Sheriff Lewis was notified about 4 p.m. that a flight was planned from Minot Air Force Base to Terry, where it would stop for fuel.

The hunters were the first to be flown to safety at Prairie Community Hospital, followed by the four rescuers who spent the night with them.

They were examined and released.

“I could not be more proud of the actions of the officers of the Prairie County Sheriff’s Office and the citizen lifesavers involved in this momentous and historic rescue,” Lewis wrote.

Lewis said thanks to a lot of people for providing aid. That group included the pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and flight doctor; a convenience store employee, and many more, including law enforcement.

The four rescuers were Prairie County Undersheriff Tim Therrien, deputy Arnold, Aaron Martinson and Tate Pehl.

“What an amazing effort from all those involved,” Lewis wrote. “Thank you is simply not enough.”

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