Search and rescue teams advise hunters to help search for the missing

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:29 PM CST
Email this link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn


The Wisconsin gun deer hunting season officially starts tomorrow--and hunters are being asked to keep their eyes open for more than just their trophy buck.

Right now, in La Crosse County alone, there are eight people reported missing.

Heather Vancil, who is a member of the Wisconsin Rapids-based Rapid Search and Rescue Corp., hopes hunters can help solve some of these cases.

“Thousands of hunters are going to hit the woods hoping to get their trophy buck that they can put on their wall,” said Vancil. “[However] not only are they going to be out hunting, they can be a huge asset to locating the missing.”

Vancil and her group have created “Attention Hunters” flyers on their Facebook page with names of missing people throughout the state of Wisconsin by each county.

“We actually have a flyer up that covers every person in the whole state of Wisconsin,” Vancil said.

Rapid Search and Rescue’s efforts are part of statewide effort Search Teams of Wisconsin (STOW), which also includes the Central and Northwestern Wisconsin-based group K-9 Emergency Response Teams (KERT).

“I think it is important that teams work together for the betterment of finding somebody, for the families and for law enforcement,” said Jan Thompson, a handler with K-9 Emergency Response Teams.

“The true passion that hunters are so excited just about going out and getting that buck,” Vancil added. “They don’t think about also--hey, I might be able to locate somebody and bring them home.”

“Most hunters go to the same area to hunt year after year,” Thompson said. “Now they see something there whether it’s the vehicle or clothing, or a bone that looks like it could be human.”

In the end, all STOW partners hope hunters play it safe this season and to report anything suspicious to law enforcement.

“All of our STOW teams are on standby,” said Vancil. “We are ready to search and deploy at a moment’s notice whenever law enforcement calls us.”

To learn more about Rapid Search & Rescue Corp., click here.

To learn about K-9 Emergency Response Teams, click here.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.