Michigan hunter found safe Tuesday afternoon

MEEKER | Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing hunter last seen on Saturday morning near his hunting camp by Pagoda Lake. The man has been identified as David R. Boelcke, 61, from Michigan. His hunting partner stated that he and Boelcke were hunting near Pagoda Lake and were supposed to meet back together for lunch. Boelcke never showed up. His hunting partner reported him missing to Ripple Creek Lodge and the Sheriff’s Office was contacted. Rio Blanco County Search and Rescue, Meeker Fire and Rescue and Classic Air Medical Helicopter began searching after he was reported missing. They were unable to locate the missing hunter. Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office requested the use of the Colorado Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA) and a search was conducted Sunday night. The MMA did not locate the missing hunter. Beginning early Monday, members of the Rio Blanco County Search and Rescue, Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, Meeker Fire and Rescue, U.S. Forest Service White River Field Office, Colorado National Guard, and a scent dog from Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States searched the area again Monday. Approximately 36 people searched the primary search areas by foot, OHV and horses. The National Guard searched the area from the air using a Kiowa helicopter. All units suspended the search at dark Monday. Tuesday morning members of the Rio Blanco County Search and Rescue, Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, Meeker Fire and Rescue, U.S. Forest Service White River Field Office, Routt County Search and Rescue, Grand County Search and Rescue, BLM, a scent dog from SARDOC Larimer County Search and Rescue, searched the area again. Members located a hunter waving at them from a distance. Two team members contacted the hunter who turned out to be Boelcke. He was somewhat confused and dehydrated, but otherwise uninjured. Under paramedics’ advice he was transported from the Dead Horse Loop trail head in an ambulance by Meeker Fire and Rescue to Pioneers Medical Center to be checked out by a physician for exposure and dehydration. Boelcke’s family, who have been in the area since Monday afternoon, were at the trail head to meet him when he came down. The Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office would like to send thanks to all the volunteers and agencies that have assisted us in this search. We would also like to thank the Colorado Search and Rescue Board (CSRB) and the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) for the air and logistic support provided for this mission.