September 23, 2021
Raymond Jones was missing in the backcountry for 53 years until his remains were found by a bowhunter last Friday.
Jones went missing in a remote part of Lemhi County on September 7, 1968, while bowhunting for mountain goats in the region, EastIdahoNews.com reported. Two days after Jones’ disappearance a search was launched in efforts to find him.
The search efforts included over 70 individuals along with aircraft support. Unfortunately, due to severe storms, the immediate search was called off. After the storm blew over, footprints were found on a nearby ridge and the search resumed; but in the end, the search was unsuccessful and Jones’ remains were never found.
Closure was brought to the surviving members of Jones’ family—including his wife—by an unexpecting bowhunter who happened to stumble upon his remains. The hunter was traveling between spots and immediately contacted the authorities when he found what he knew to be human remains.
“The hunter was seeking a shortcut from one hunting area to another when he found human remains and then contacted the sheriff’s office," said Sheriff Steve Penner. "Due to the lack of remaining daylight and ruggedness of the terrain, recovery efforts began on the morning of the 18."
When officers reported to the scene, they were able to find locate part of Jones’ wallet which was used to identify the remains.
“It’s pretty wild, ain’t it? You have another bowhunter looking for a shortcut who stumbled upon a bowhunter from 53 years ago,” Penner says.
As you head into the backcountry, make sure to go prepared. Tell people where you are going, where you plan to stay and plan contingencies in bad situations. There will always be inherent risk and it is your job to mitigate all that you can.