Fort Severn – Overdue Hunter Writes Directions in the Snow to Aid Canadian Ranger Search

Canadian Rangers conduct search and rescue training near Moose Factory.
Canadian Rangers conduct search and rescue training near Moose Factory.

FORT SEVERN – An overdue hunter wrote directions in the snow next to his broken-down snowmobile to assist  Canadian Rangers who were searching for him.

The hunter was harvesting geese near his home community of Fort Severn First Nation, a small Cree settlement on Hudson Bay that is Ontario’s most northerly community. It is 940 kilometers north of Timmins.

He left Fort Severn to spend the day hunting by himself.  He was about 25 kilometers from Fort Sevren when he turned off his snowmobile engine and was unable to restart it.

Word spread in the small community when he failed to return and the next day the Canadian Army authorized the use of the local Canadian Ranger patrol to search for him. Four Rangers and three civilian volunteers began searching for him. Rangers are part-time army reservists.

Master Corporal Angus Miles, shown in this Facebook photograph, is one of Fort Severn Canadian Rangers harvesting food for his community.
Master Corporal Angus Miles, shown in this Facebook photograph, is one of Fort Severn Canadian Rangers harvesting food for his community. Image: Canadian Rangers

One Ranger who joined the search was already hunting in the area where the overdue hunter had last been seen. He found the hunter’s abandoned snowmobile and was able to read a message the hunter had written in the snow next to it. The message said the hunter was attempting to walk to a nearby hunting camp. The Ranger headed for the camp and came across the walking hunter. He took him back to his broken-down snowmobile and was able to restart it for him.

“The missing hunter’s father, who had been looking for him, rode back to Fort Severn with him,” said Master Corporal Angus Miles. “He went home with his dad along with 50 geese.” 

When he could not restart his snowmobile the hunter spent much of his time harvesting geese while waiting for someone to find him.

The successful search was just another duty for Fort Severn’s Rangers, Master Corporal Miles said.  Several local Rangers are on full-time active service during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lydia Mathews shares it is back to "old ways" and for some water uses melted snow is enough.
Lydia Mathews shares it is back to “old ways” in Washaho Cree Nation, and for some water uses melted snow is enough.

They are delivering water to homes without water after their water lines froze and are awaiting repair. They are conducting wellness checks of the elderly and disabled and others requiring help during the crisis. 

They are also taking part in the spring hunt and distributing geese they have harvested, along with geese from other hunters to families in need.

‘The Rangers response to the overdue hunter and their expedient retrieval of his snowmobile was outstanding,” said Major Charles Ohlke, a company commander with 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, which commands the Rangers of the Far North of Ontario. “They are doing a fine job in supporting their community during this crisis.”


(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)