by Glenn Henderson
The team was called out on an OES (Office of Emergency Services) call to help search for a missing deer hunter in the Dinky Creek area of Fresno County. This was to be our training weekend in Joshua Tree but training was diverted to the search instead. We left in two vehicles at 5 p.m. on Friday evening. We arrived in Fresno at midnight, rented rooms and got a few hours sleep. We were at the Dinky Creek campground by 7 a.m. to get our assignments. Since none of us had ever been in the area (as were most out of county teams), we were assigned a search deputy from the Fresno Sheriff’s department. The area is a maze of dirt roads with few if any signs. We were assigned to David Rippe. Our team of eleven were split into two teams and sent into two areas. It was fairly cold with patches of snow on the ground. Our missing hunter had been missing since last Saturday, November 1. His truck was parked off the side of a dirt road with only his deer rifle and four bullets from a box of bullets missing. Everything else was still in his truck. It looked like he saw something and was planning on not being gone long.
We got to our search area, started up our GPS units and spread our team out to search along a creek to the end of a dirt road. We completed our search in 4 hours and radioed in for another assignment. We got that and finished at dark. We returned to base camp to be debriefed and were released to return home. We all returned to Fresno for the night and drove home Sunday, getting in about 3 p.m. Kirk Cloyd remained at Dinky Creek as his truck would not start. He stayed and took another search assignment on Sunday while a tow truck was hired to tow the vehicle to a repair shop. Kirk got home at midnight, Sunday night.
Members attending were, Kirk Cloyd, Gwenda Yates, Kevin Walker, Glenn Henderson, Lee Arnson, Chad Marler, Jim Manues, Roger May, Rob May, Nick Nixon, and Brian Wood.
As of February 7, 2009 no sign has been found of our missing deer hunter.
Fresno did a great job of running this operation. As soon as we arrived in base camp they had our assignments ready and when our first assignment was finished and we asked for another, it was ready in about 10 minutes. They had breakfast, lunches, and dinner ready for all searchers. They did a great job of keeping us informed at the morning briefing and of anything new as we returned to base. They did a very professional job.
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