Overnight Search for Missing Mushroom Hunter Successful
Grants Pass, OR - On Friday night, November 28, 2014 at approx. 10:30 pm, the Josephine County Sheriff's Office was notified of an overdue mushroom hunter in the Stratton Creek Rd. area. Lynn Bishop, a 65yo male with medical conditions and lack of resources for overnight or the weather conditions, had left his North Valley area home around 9:30 Friday morning to go mushroom hunting and was expected home around 6:00pm. When he did not return home family and friends went looking for him, found where his vehicle was parked and after a searching for few hours with no success they called for assistance.
Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson responded immediately and Josephine County Search and Rescue resources were called out, including Road Searchers, Ground Searchers, ATV's, K9's, Communications, and Incident Command personnel. Also, due to the missing persons medical conditions and weather factors, a helicopter with heat sensor equipment was requested by the Sheriff's Office through the state, however they were unable to fly due to the weather conditions prior to Mr. Bishop being found, but had been constantly monitoring the weather and awaiting a break in the storm system to deploy and assist with the search.
The search was conducted approximately 1 mile up from Galice Rd. on Stratton Creek Rd. Due to the steep terrain, Incident Command decided to deploy searchers from the top of the search area to hike down into a ravine. Mr. Bishop was found at approximately 4:00 am roughly half a mile from his vehicle by Ground Searchers who were searching the estimated 200 acres where Mr. Bishop was believed to be mushroom hunting. The terrain was very rugged and weather conditions were unfavorable. Negative weather conditions resulted in heavy downpours which caused runoff and mud in the steep terrain where numerous risks of falls down steep hills and cliffs were present as well as the rain falling so hard and loud making hearing difficult when calling out for the missing subject.
When Mr. Bishop realized he had taken a wrong turn on his way back to his vehicle in the dark, he took the exact correct action and stopped, built a small fire and was waiting for either daylight or rescuers. Other contributing factors to a quick and successful search included Mr. Bishops ability to respond to sound sweeps when rescuers got close enough (calling out when searchers were calling for him), and family members knowing the exact area where he hunted and his expected time of return.
Searchers found Mr. Bishop, he was cold and wet but uninjured and was able to walk back to his vehicle with searchers. Upon arrival back at the vehicles, Mr. Bishop was evaluated by Search and Rescue Emergency Medical Responders and returned home with his family and friends.
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office as well as Search and Rescue Volunteers would like to stress the importance to individuals who are going out into the wilderness, for any reason, to give a family or friend information as to where you intend to go and an estimated time of return. The sooner we get information about a missing person, coupled with the best location to search, give us all an increased chance of a successful outcome in returning your loved ones home safe.