KREMMLING — Cold, shivering, and lost, a father and son hunting party fired three consecutive shots into the air, the universal hunter’s SOS, on Sunday morning after spending a sleepless night in an abandoned and run-down cabin with little supplies and no overnight gear.
The two hunters, 52 year-old Paul and 16 year old Kyle Schultz, made their last contact with the other members of their hunting party in the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 16, when they told their hunting partners they had spotted the elk they were after in the Wheatly Creek area and were going to pursue their prey.
The Wheatly Creek area is located between Parshall and Kremmling and is made up of rough and difficult terrain.
As night fell, the members of the hunting party began to worry that they had not heard more from their partners in the field and attempted to call them, with no answer.
The members of the hunting party decided to call for help and contacted the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, who called upon Grand County Search and Rescue to handle the case.
After interviewing the other members of the hunting party, Search and Rescue leaders determined to begin to mobilize a search for the two hunters the following morning.
As the search began, the first three shots fired by the hunters were heard by a man walking his dogs, who called dispatch to report hearing the shots.
Three teams were sent into the field to search for the two hunters, who would have been better prepared for the situation had the father’s hunting backpack not been stolen in the days leading up to the incident.
After a long and arduous day of searching with no luck, another three shots were heard form the direction of the old Wheatly Creek Ranch, an abandoned ranch where decrepit cabins still partially stand.
The search team enlisted the help of a local rancher, Rick Wahl, who volunteered to guide the team to the abandoned ranch.
As night begin to fall on Sunday, the team reached the cabins by ATV and made contact with the two hunters, who reported spending the night awake and huddling around a small fire in one of the cabins that had no roof and only two walls still standing.
Besides being chilled to the bone, the two hunters were in good health and were transported back to the trailhead, where they made contact with family members to assure them of their safety.
“Everyone operated smoothly and efficiently and the two agencies worked well together,” said Kymmie Scott, a public information officer for Grand County Search and Rescue. “The hunters were very happy to be rescued.”
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334