WASHINGTON COUNTY – A 28-year-old woman was found by search teams early Thursday morning after rolling an ATV near Motoqua on the Utah-Nevada border while looking for “sheds,” or deer antlers.
Search teams were called out at around 11:30 Thursday night, Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Liaison Darrell Cashin said.
The woman’s father said she left about noon Wednesday but did not tell anyone where she was going. A search was started on the Motoqua Road because the woman had been to the area before, Cashin said.
After finding the truck parked at the Dodge Springs turnoff on Motoqua Road, 27 miles from old Highway 91, more responders were called in to search the area.
After going cross-country on the ATV, the woman had driven into a rocky canyon. While trying to climb out of the canyon the ATV rolled, but the woman was apparently uninjured.
After trying unsuccessfully to right the vehicle she started walking back to her truck. At some point, however, she stopped and built a fire.
“Luckily, one of my search guys decided to go cross-country – don’t know why, but he did – looked down over this ledge and saw the fire,” Cashin said. The woman was located about six miles from her truck.
Building a fire was a good idea, Cashin said. If the woman had not done so, crews would likely still be looking for her Thursday, Cashin said.
“She wasn’t anywhere near a road or trail.”
Fires are visible at night and can also be detected by rescue helicopters carrying heat-sensing equipment.
Two deputies, 11 Search and Rescue team members, a Bureau of Land Management officer, along with the woman’s family and friends searched for four hours before finding the woman.
Cashin advises backcountry travelers to take plenty of food, water and at least a light jacket; even during warm weather as it gets cold in the desert when the sun goes down.
“Make a plan and let someone know – when you’ll be back, where you’re going. And don’t go alone,” Cashin said. “If you change your plans, let someone know,” he said. And if you get stuck, try to stay with your vehicle.
Shed hunting is a popular outdoor activity in Utah, especially in the early spring after mule deer, elk and moose shed their antlers.
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