Trail Camera Helps Find Lost Hunter

Steve Miller
October 07, 2019 - 8:45 pm

Chuck Egner is checked out in an ambulance after being lost in central Illinois. (Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police)

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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Illinois Conservation Police – with an assist from technology -- found a deer hunter with dementia who disappeared for nearly three days.

WBBM Newsradio's Steve Miller reports.

It was a hunting trip to eastern Illinois for 66-year-old Chuck Egner of central Florida and his two sons.

Egner's wife, Michele, said the sons were keeping an eye on their father, but he wandered off last Wednesday.

"I beat myself up for letting him go,” she said.

For 66 hours, they searched.

Finally, Illinois Conservation Police Sgt. Brian McReynolds said, a man who has a deer lease nearby –- and who happened to be hunting moose in Canada -- checked his trail cameras hooked up to the Illinois site, in Clark County.

"And when he did, he saw an individual he believed to be Chuck Egner,” McReynolds said.

Chuck Egner is seen on a trail-camera video feed (Illinois Conservation Police)

Sure enough, Michele Egner said, they found her husband.

"This is the best part. You ready for it? He was sitting on the stump when the game warden came in the wooded area there where the camera was and my husband said, 'Hey, buddy, you have any water?'

"And he was eating acorns."

Sgt. McReynolds said when he gave the family the good news, he should have made sure everyone was sitting down, especially Jordan, one of the adult sons.

“Jordan fainted and fell over backwards and hit the rocks. It sounded like a sack of potatoes hitting the ground,” he said.

The Egners returned to their home in Florida on Monday.