SHERIDAN, WY— On September 30, at approximately 4:00 PM, 61-year-old Kansas resident, Rudy Miller, became separated from his hunting party in the Bighorn Mountains after Miller decided to hike back to the hunting party’s vehicle. The hunting party had been in the area of Elephant Foot and Miller was last seen in the area of Sibley Creek and Bear Creek. When the remainder of the hunting party returned to the vehicle, Miller was not at the vehicle.
The Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office received a call at approximately 9:49 PM on September 30, 2019, from the hunting party advising the sheriff’s office Miller was believed to be lost. Sheridan County Search and Rescue was paged out and a search began for Miller that spanned throughout the night. Miller was not prepared to stay overnight in the Bighorn Mountains and only had a jacket, blue jeans, and hiking boots. Miller’s medical history and extreme weather conditions were a serious concern for the search teams.
Sheridan County Search and Rescue requested assistance from Johnson County Search and Rescue and teams searched throughout the night, but the conditions were challenging due to heavy fog in the area along with snow and rainfall. The area where Miller was last seen was only accessible by foot and horseback. The search continued into Tuesday, October 1, and Sheridan County Search and Rescue requested additional assistance from Big Horn County (WY) Search and Rescue. A helicopter was requested from the Wyoming National Guard but the helicopter was unable to take off from Cheyenne, WY due to weather.
Approximately 36 personnel from Sheridan County, Johnson County, and Big Horn County Search and Rescues were involved with the search on Tuesday, October 1. The search conditions remained challenging with thick fog and rain and snowfall in the search area.
The search continued through the night and into the morning of Wednesday, October 2, 2019. Approximately 50 personnel form Sheridan County, Johnson County, Big Horn County Search and Rescues, Forest Service, and the Wyoming National Guard assisted in the search throughout Wednesday. Search teams were primarily searching on horseback and on foot. The Wyoming National Guard attempted several times to fly into the search area but was forced back to the Sheridan County Airport due to weather.
At approximately 11:20 AM, a hunter was able to see a subject that matched Miller’s description in the Sibley Creek area, but due to terrain and weather, the hunter was unable to contact Miller. The hunter was able to contact search crews and thick fog once again moved into the area, causing search crews to lose sight of Miller. Horseback crews were able to ride into the area where the hunter possibly observed Miller and were able to observe fresh foot tracks. The tracks were followed where Miller was eventually located at approximately 5:22 PM by a group of searchers on horseback. Miller was located approximately 1 mile west of the forest service boundary in the Wolf Creek drainage. Miller was talking to rescue members when he was located and was subsequently transported by ambulance to Sheridan Memorial Hospital where he was evaluated for precautionary measures.