Hunter Recovers After Frigid Nights Lost In The Woods

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SEBASTIAN COUNTY (KFSM)-22-year-old Wylie Peters is home in Fort Smith with his wife after spending more than 48 hours lost in the wilderness. He was found Tuesday (Nov. 11) by a search party made up of almost 100 people.

“It feels great to have him here and know that he`s getting food, and that he`s been able to stay in the warmth, and you know, he`s exhausted, but tired from all that hiking and stuff, but he feels a lot better knowing he can have a hot shower,” his wife Dominica Peters said.

“I'm sore, but I'm fine,” Wylie Peters said.

He went on a hunting trip with his dad and two brothers on Poteau Mountain near Hartford Friday (Nov. 8).

“I realized I was lost pretty quick,” Peters said. “I should have stopped right then and waited.”

He estimates being 3/4 of a mile away from his deep camp at the time. He said he had no cell phone on him, but did have his rifle, a flashlight and a limited amount of food.

“I had a can of fish and a granola bar,” he said.

He drank water from a creek and found a place to sleep.

“I found a big tall rock to shield me from the wind a little bit, piled me some leaves and laid down,” he said.

At one point, he contemplated sleeping in a cave.

“I didn`t wanna be in there when a bear come in there to sleep, or in the back there`s big pieces of rock that keep falling,” he said, “and I didn't like the look of that either.”

“As we get comfortable as hunters, we need to take the proper precautions,” Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck said.

The sheriff recommends hunters carry a survival kit that contains water, non-perishable food, a whistle, a compass and matches. He suggests carrying a device with GPS tracking as well. He said a group of about five people ended up finding Peters at the bottom of the mountain.

“I just want to thank everyone that [came] out to look for me that donated food and what not,” Peters said.

One of the members of the search group was Peters’ uncle Tony Cox, a Fort Smith Police officer. In case you’re wondering, the first thing Peters ate when he got home was his mom’s homemade deer stew.