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Hunter’s trail camera helps find man missing for 66 hours

For The Win logo For The Win 10/9/2019 David Strege
a man standing on top of a grass covered field: File Photo © File Photo File Photo

A hunter in Canada was remotely reviewing images from his trail camera in Illinois when he spotted the man he believed had been missing for nearly three days.

Chuck Egner, 66, of Central Florida was on a traditional deer hunting trip in Eastern Illinois with his two sons when he wandered off alone last Wednesday, according to WBBM. Egner has dementia.

"I beat myself up for letting him go," Egner's wife Michele told WBBM.

After a 66-hour search, it was a phone call from a man hunting for moose in Canada that led officials to Egner.

"We received information that a hunter that hunts a property just to the east of here, who's currently hunting in Canada, had a cellphone-based trail camera out and, reviewing his cellphone camera, he saw a picture he believed was Chuck," Sgt. Brian McReynolds of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources told WTWO.

Actually, there were a series of photos.

a man standing on top of a grass covered field: File Photo

File Photo
© File Photo

Officers went to the scene and found Egner in the woods near the trail camera.

"This is the best part," Michele Egner told WBBM. "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 told WTWO Egner was confused and obviously dehydrated.

He was taken to a hospital, recovered and returned home to Florida on Monday.

Also on FTW Outdoors: Eight firefighters needed to subdue 21-foot python

When Sgt. McReynolds had given the family the good news, Egner's son was overwhelmed.

"Jordan fainted and fell over backwards and hit the rocks," Sgt. McReynolds told WBBM. "It sounded like a sack of potatoes hitting the ground."

The unidentified hunter who made the discovery was said to have a deer lease on the property in Clark County. A deer lease is when you pay a farmer or landowner to hunt on their property. Some allow the hunters to build deer stands in remote areas or in this case put up trail cameras.

"It's very rewarding for everybody that was involved, that Chuck's here," Sheriff Bill Brown told WTWO. "Nobody gave up."

Photos courtesy of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

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