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Missing hunter feared dead

November 1, 2011

By Katharhynn Heidelberg, MontrosePress.com

Authorities’ optimism has given way to expecting the worst-case scenario for missing hunter Terry Baughn.

“We’re confident we’re strictly in a body recovery mode at this time,” said Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee on Monday, the sixth day since Baughn, 73, was last seen in the Leroux Creek area northwest of Hotchkiss.

“I believe in miracles, but I believe we have to be reasonable and assume the person did not survive. Obviously, for some reason, he’s unable to do anything to alert us, or help himself. There’s obviously some other issue involved,” the sheriff said.

Baughn has decades of hunting experience. The Ohio man has hunted the Leroux Creek area in the past, and was with two hunting companions Oct. 25, when the weather was fair. They had planned a short hunt that afternoon, so Baughn took basic gear with him when he left camp.

When he hadn’t returned, his friends alerted authorities at about 1 a.m.
Oct. 26. They led searchers to Baughn’s all-terrain vehicle, and with the weather turning, a massive ground search was launched in the steep, heavily forested terrain.

At least 10 inches of snow has fallen since Baughn’s vanishing, covering whatever signs he could have left to indicate his direction of travel. The terrain, coupled with the weather, makes for a daunting search, McKee said.

Baughn’s friends had been with him, and authorities know exactly the area to search — they just have not been able to find him, as of last report Monday.
“That’s the most frustrating part. We have a very good last-seen area,” the sheriff said.

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