82-year-old FL hunter found in swamp after missing 25 hours

spectr17

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82-year-old hunter found in swamp after missing for more than a day

12/13/01

Christi Stevens, Citrus County Chronicle

An 82-year-old Tampa hunter who disappeared Monday in a maze of Chassahowitzka swampland was found Tuesday after an exhaustive 25-hour search.

Lt. Gene Newman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Glenn Dohle isn’t just lucky, he’s smart.

Newman said Dohle and his son, 52-year-old Ray Dohle, also of Tampa, were squirrel hunting Monday when Dohle disappeared.

For a full day, Ray Dohle sought the help of fellow hunters and authorities to find his elderly father, who takes daily medication for a heart condition.

With no water, jacket or provisions, the former Tampa fire chief used his survival instincts, Newman said.

“That would have been a tough situation if you were 22, let alone 82,” Newman said.

Newman said the family has a weekend home in Chassahowitzka. He said the father and son were hunting at about 11 a.m.

Monday in the Ryle Creek area of the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area. They separated to take different trails in the woods, but agreed to meet at 1 p.m. at a certain spot.

When the father didn’t show up at the rendezvous spot, Ray Dohle began searching for his father. By 4:30 p.m., he grew more concerned and called on fellow hunters to start a full-scale search. An hour and a half later, the hunters called authorities for more manpower, Newman said.

He said both Citrus and Hernando county sheriff’s personnel assisted his agency in the search, using the agencies’ helicopters to search the swampland and wooded areas.

A volunteer group, the Florida Search Dog Association, also brought in dogs from Gainesville, Chiefland, Ocala, Sumter County and Dunedin to search Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Newman said the search stopped about 4 a.m. Tuesday and resumed three hours later at daylight. As time slipped away, time was not on Glenn Dohle’s side. He’d taken his heart medication Monday morning, but had missed his Tuesday morning dose.

“The fortunate part of the story is that he had been hunting that area since the 1940s. He was very woods-wise,” Newman said.

He said that in order to stay hydrated, Glenn Dohle dug a hole in the ground and waited for that well to fill with groundwater. Then he used a vegetation reed to serve as a drinking straw. Newman said the man was walking from island to island in the swampland, trying to make it back to the shores of the Chassahowitzka River or back to town.

“I think in a day or two he would have made it and he could have flagged down a boater,” Newman said.

Luckily, Glenn Dohle didn’t have to wait that long. Bloodhounds picked up his scent around noon Tuesday. An amphibious aircraft from Newman’s agency was sent to the area identified by the dogs and, within 10 minutes, Glenn Dohle was spotted on an unnamed island west of Crawford Creek.

It’s still unknown why Glenn Dohle didn’t meet his son at the rendezvous point. Neither Glenn Dohle nor his son could be reached Wednesday for comment.
 

Corndog

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Squirrel Call:  $10.00
Shotgun:       $300.00
Hip Waders:   $40.00

Having someone drag your 82 year old (wet) ass out of a gator infested swamp after 25 hours:  priceless
 

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