CRYSTAL FALLS--On Sept. 16, Iron County 911 received a call from Leroy Carlston, a 78-year-old Muskegon man, reporting that he was lost somewhere in northern Iron County.
Carlston was in the U.P. grouse hunting and reported himself lost at 5:44 p.m. Deputies from the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, Baraga County Sheriff’s Office and state troopers from the L’Anse State Police detachment searched for the hunter until approximately 1:15 a.m. During the search the hunter reported that he had food and water, and was comfortable staying in his vehicle for the night.
At 7 a.m. on Sept. 17, Iron County deputies resumed the search. Iron County Search and Rescue, conservation officers from the DNR and the Covington Fire Department searched northern Iron and southern Baraga counties. Using GPS locations from the hunter’s cell phone, the search was concentrated in the area around Ned Lake near the Iron-Baraga County line.
A Department of Homeland Security helicopter, in the U.P. for an unrelated matter, also helped in the search after it arrived shortly before 4 p.m. With the hunter listening and giving information on when he heard the helicopter, rescuers were able to direct the aircraft near the missing man. At 4:32 p.m., the helicopter located the man with his vehicle in a remote area in southern Baraga County between Ned Lake and South Nestoria Road and directed rescuers to the lost man.
On the morning of Sept. 16, Carlson had left Amasa up The Grade to hunt and proceeded north on ever more remote and unimproved roads until he reached a large area crisscrossed with logging roads. Driving around the roads, Carlston became disoriented and unable to find his way out of the woods. He attempted self-rescue the following day but was still unable to negotiate the maze of unfamiliar roads.
He was found unharmed and in good spirits. He was checked by first responders and refused any further medical treatment.
Iron County deputies showed him to M-28, where he said he was heading to Rudyard. When asked why, Carlston replied, “Because there are no birds here.”