Authorities searching for two hunters

Search and rescue crews this morning were scheduled to resume the search for a Garfield County hunter who got lost in a remote mountainous area south of Silt.

Officials from Mesa and Garfield counties spent a second day looking for Jim McCarthy, who’s believed to be 35 to 40 years old, Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said.

Deputies were called to the area of Mosquito Lake and West Divide Creek Road 16 miles south of Silt around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday after hunters from a neighboring camp noticed McCarthy and Jose Rodriguez, 65, hadn’t returned to their camp and notified law enforcement, Benjamin said.

The deputies and 11 members of Mesa County Search and Rescue found Rodriguez early Wednesday morning. He was exhausted but in otherwise good condition, Benjamin said.

Additional Mesa County Search and Rescue personnel, along with six Garfield County Search and Rescue members, joined the effort Wednesday morning. Officials planned to use a helicopter from an Army National Guard training facility in Gypsum but kept it grounded because of snow and poor visibility. Benjamin said the weather should improve today, so officials should be able to fly the helicopter.

Benjamin said she didn’t know how the men became lost or where exactly Rodriguez was found.

Benjamin said the search is concentrated in a difficult-to-reach area with limited or no cell-phone service. She said the hunters who noticed Rodriguez and McCarthy were missing had to climb to a high point in order to get cell-phone service.

“It’s remote, it’s mountainous. The challenge, really, is the weather,” she said.

Much of the Colorado high country was under a winter storm warning Wednesday, and several inches of snow fell in many areas. Wednesday night’s lows in the mountains were expected to dip into the teens and low 20s.

The good news, Benjamin said, is “generally with hunters they’re more prepared for inclement weather.”

Meanwhile, Delta County Search and Rescue officials continue to look for a hunter missing northwest of Hotchkiss.

Authorities were notified early Wednesday morning that 75-year-old Terry Baughn of Howard, Ohio, was hunting with others in the Bailey Reservoir area near Leroux Creek and failed to return to camp. Baughn is an experienced hunter and has hunted in the same area for more than 40 years, Delta County Undersheriff Mark Taylor said.

Search efforts that began at dawn Wednesday were hampered by fresh snow, Taylor said.


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