A search and rescue story submitted by Anton Schneider, a past resident of Fort St. James. Schneider lived in Fort St. James from 1958 to 1967 with his wife Theresa and their four children. This is one of the many tales the 85-year-old still recalls from his time here in Fort.
The fire hall siren went off at about 6 a.m. and in no time flat nearly all of us were there waiting for instructions.
A policeman informed us an 85-year-old hunter didn’t come back the evening before, and had been with his friends hunting about five miles north of Fort St. James.
The man had gone out hunting by himself, heading west from the North Road, and so about 20 volunteers assembled where he entered the forest and began searching.
We thought we might be looking for a heart attack or some other form of medical distress, so we spread out along the road about 20 feet apart and the outside person tied ribbons to show the edge of our search area.
We went about half a mile up to a creek, then moved over and did a similar swath coming back. We did this back and forth for some time.
Then, the elderly hunter wandered out of the timber on the east side of the road.
Looking right at us he demanded to know what so many people were doing out in the woods.
We told him we were looking for a lost hunter and he asked who was lost.
We told him he was.
The hunter was quite peeved we thought he was lost and said we were scaring all the moose away with the noise.
Unknown to his friends, he had crossed the road the day before and hunted the east side. When it became late, he decided to sit under a tree and sleep – he would not admit he had been lost.
So we all went home to Sunday dinner.