Missing hunter found after Covintgon Co. woods search

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

ANDALUSIA, AL (WSFA) - A hunter who is said to have the first stages of Dementia is safe following a weekend search for the missing man in the Covington County woods.

Covington County Sheriff's Deputies said they were called Saturday evening to a location off of Zell Ready Rd close to Plywood Mill Rd where relatives explained that they couldn't find the hunter they'd left in his hunting blind at around 1pm.

James "Buck" Smith, 75, from Ft. Walton Beach, Florida was no where to be found when relatives returned to pick him up at 5pm.

Covington County Sheriff's Posse's members and tracking K9 "Tracker", along with Sheriff's reserve members were called to assist. The Dale County Sheriff's Office was contacted to assist with their Helicopter equipped with  "FLIR", a heat seeking radar.

The ground units, along with the air unit, searched the area for most of the night. The air unit had to return to Dale County just before midnight, but the K9 unit continued searching for Smith.

An hour later, at 12:45am, the dog found Smith in the woods near Bamboo Lane. When asked how he got there, Smith told authorities he'd gotten lost and was walking around trying to find his way.

Advanced EMS transported the hunter to Andalusia Regional Hospital where he underwent an evaluation. He was then released to family members.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks thanked all those who were involved in the search and said he, himself, was thankful for the good outcome. When the hunter was located the temperature was hovering at just 22 degrees. 

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.