Hot-headed hunter heads home |

Hot-headed hunter heads home

Marija B. Vader
Grand Junction Correspondent

MESA COUNTY ” Dozens of Mesa County Search and Rescue Personnel deployed to Grand Mesa Sunday to search for a 30-year-old “lost” hunter from North Carolina.

As it turned out, the hunter just got “ticked-off” at his hunting buddies and ran away Saturday, disappearing from the area without telling his buddies.

Sunday night, the hunter had called his wife from a bus somewhere between Delta and his North Carolina home, said Heather Benjamin, spokeswoman from the sheriff’s department.

“He told his wife he was ticked at his hunting buddies,” Benjamin said. “They’re very confused. They said they didn’t know what he did,” or what they did to irritate him.

The man was last seen by his hunting group Saturday morning, Benjamin said.

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At that point, he left on foot.

He returned at some point in the day to pick up an ATV, so at the time, it was believed he had wounded or killed an animal, Benjamin said.

He was reported missing Sunday morning, and that’s when the search began.

The group had been hunting an area where Mesa, Delta and Gunnison counties come together, near the Paonia Cutoff, Benjamin said.

The county’s search was hampered by snowfall. Six inches of new snow fell Saturday night, and Sunday it continued to fall, Benjamin said.

Between 30 and 40 search and rescue members showed up to help find the man.

Now they know the man rode his ATV to Paonia, hitched a ride into Delta, where he caught an eastbound bus heading home.

“Our search and rescue lieutenant is going to try to get ahold of this guy tonight and find out what went wrong,” Benjamin said.

The man probably didn’t spend a night in the wild, but “I’m sure he hit Paonia before dark yesterday,” Benjamin said.

“The good citizens of Mesa County” will pick up the tab for this search, she said. There was no estimate as to what it cost.

Authorities look forward to questioning the man.

As for drugs and alcohol, “That’s something they want to talk to him about,” Benjamin said. “We’ll go over it in the morning.”

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