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Lost Hunter Found in Northern California Wilderness After Five Days

Air Shasta Rotor and Wing photo
Air Shasta Rotor and Wing

This lost hunter spent five days in the forest of Northern California. What he did to survive will amaze you.

59-year-old Dave Stornetta became separated from his son while tracking a deer in a Trinity County, California wilderness area. The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office searched for Mr. Stornetta for over four days but eventually suspended their search when they failed to locate him.

Stornetta was hunting with his 33-year-old son when he spotted a legal buck that drew his attention. After tracking the deer into a canyon, Stornetta lost his sense of direction and began hiking the wrong way. Nothing looked familiar, he later said, but luckily he was accompanied by his dog Maggie.

When he did not meet his son at the designated time and place they had determined, a search was launched. 64 hikers, four dog teams and two helicopters searched for Stornetta but could not locate him.

Equipped with a lighter, he lit fires and heated rocks to stay warm. He snuggled with his beloved dog to share body heat. He ate grasshoppers, lizards and grubs.

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During one of the nights, a storm came that had heavy rain and high winds. Trees were knocked down around him and his dog during the night.

At one point a bear came upon them and his dog chased it. The bear subsequently ran into a tree and did a somersault. Stornetta said it was moments like this that he found amazement in the beauty of nature around him.

He admits to being frustrated by hearing and seeing the helicopters but not being able to be seen. Simultaneously, his strength was weakening and he could not longer hike or climb very far without tiring.

When the rescue teams stopped looking, Stornetta’s wife hired a private helicopter pilot to continue in the search. Pilots set out in two helicopters to search the area.

The pilots were able to spot columns of smoke in a few different spots close by one another. After several passes over the area they were able to see Stornetta waving his arms.

Stornetta was rescued just one day after he turned 59 years old. He was reunited with his wife and family who sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

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Lost Hunter Found in Northern California Wilderness After Five Days