Conservation Officer Christopher Egan: Region One Office, Lancaster, NH
603-788-4850 or 603-271-3361
November 2, 2013
Successful Search for Lost Hunter in Pittsburg
LANCASTER, N.H. -- At approximately 6:00 PM on Saturday, November 2, 2013, New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officers responded to a report of an overdue hunter in Pittsburg.
Norman Colburn, 68, of Laconia, was last seen by a hunting companion at about 9:30 AM, off Sugar Camp Acres Road. Colburn had planned to hunt deer in the area of some beaver ponds between Sugar Camp Acres and Back Lake Road. Colburn usually returned from hunting in the early afternoon. This, coupled with poor weather conditions, prompted a request for assistance in locating him after darkness had fallen.
“The weather had taken a turn for the worse, and shortly after sunset, the soaking rain had turned to wet snow, with an air temperature of 34 degrees and moderate winds.”, said CO Chris Egan, “It was imperative that we attempted to locate Mr. Colburn as soon as possible, as the threat of hypothermia was very likely in these conditions.”
Conservation Officers first used lights, sirens and air horns from the location Colburn was last seen, in attempt to guide him out of the woods. Meanwhile, Pittsburg Police Department and a US Border Patrol Agent assisted with searching perimeter roads, in hope that Colburn could have come out and was following a road in the area.
Conservation Officers then used ATVs to access a gated road system behind the town transfer station, stopping periodically to attempt making voice contact with the missing man. At approximately 10:25 PM, officers heard Colburn respond to their calls of his name. They followed a compass bearing to the response and located Colburn in the woods off the trail at 10:30 PM, approximately 1 mile from where he was last seen.
“He was cold and wet and had some minor scratches on his face, but was otherwise unharmed.” Egan said. “He had been prepared with a small pack, light, radio and GPS, however the radio was not working properly. He was ultimately overcome by a combination of the darkness, wet falling snow and steep terrain, and had decided to ‘settle in for the night’ under a softwood tree.”
Colburn told authorities that he had begun to shiver prior to being located; one of the first symptoms during the onset of hypothermia. He was assisted to an awaiting ATV, and then transported out to Back Lake Road, where he declined medical response.
Colburn and his hunting companion were very grateful for the efforts of all agencies involved.
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