Busy Weekend for Lost Hunters and Rescuers in Baker and Wallowa counties

By on Monday, November 6th, 2023 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

NORTHEAST OREGON – November 2 became a day of challenges and triumphs for hunters as two separate incidents unfolded, showcasing the resilience and dedication of search and rescue teams.

In the first incident, 56-year-old James Asell from Medford, Oregon, embarked on a solo hunting expedition near Old Auburn and Elkhorn Ridge in Baker County. He left his hunting group early in the morning, but as the day wore on, worry set in when he didn’t return, and his cellphone was found back at camp.

Quick to respond, the Baker County Sheriff’s Office activated the Search and Rescue Team, deploying nine members to the area at the break of dawn. Despite Asell’s familiarity with the terrain and preparation for the elements, dense fog and rain disrupted his hunt. Unable to find his way back to camp, he spent the night battling the elements until he reached a residence on Salmon Creek Road.

A 911 call at 10:14 a.m. reported Asell’s discovery, leading Deputy Adam Robb to find him cold and tired but otherwise in good condition.

Simultaneously, in Wallowa County at approximately 3:30 p.m., another call reached the Wallowa County Search and Rescue regarding a hunter with a foot injury near Bear Creek Trail. The call had been transferred from Baker County dispatch, and an incident command team swiftly organized an equine team of two SAR members to respond.

Navigating the difficult terrain, the equine team located the injured hunter and, with the help of livestock, safely extracted them. The rescue concluded around 11:30 p.m., with the injured individual transported to the hospital emergency room in Enterprise.