Update: December 2, 9:30 a.m.- A 27-year old missing hunter has been found safe after spending a night in the woods above Wallace Creek near Clinton.

After spending nearly 19 hours in the cold, a Montana hunter came out of the woods at around nine a.m. Monday morning. The man disappeared on Sunday afternoon and was forced to sleep outside overnight with what he had carried with him into the woods. Search and Rescue personnel reported that that equipment (most notably a lighter) probably saved his life.

Although Search and Rescue teams scoured the woods for the missing man, it appears he was able to get back to civilization on his own strength. He found a local residence and was able to get a ride back to civilization.

The hunter was safe and sound with no evidence of either hypothermia or frostbite.

Original: December 2, 6:45 a.m. - Missoula County Search and Rescue crews are combing the area around Wallace Creek looking for a missing hunter.

Sergeant Bill Burt with the Missoula County Sheriff's office said on Monday, December 2, that the man was wrapping up his hunting trip on the final day of the general rifle season.

"He was hunting up in the Wallace Creek area Sunday morning sometime between 11 a.m. and noon," Burt said. "At the end of the day when everybody was supposed to be back at the truck, he hadn't arrived, so one of his fellow hunters got concerned enough to call our office. We contacted search and rescue and they're up there currently with Deputy Newsome coordinating their search."

Burt said search and rescue crews are using ATV's overnight on roads behind closed gates in the area to get closer access to where the missing man might be.

"Getting back behind those closed gates will help them at least get close enough to where they might be able to hear him yelling for help," Burt said. "We know that he has a rifle and a handgun with him, so he can use those to signal us as to his location."

The missing hunter, 27, is said to be physically fit and that he knows the area. The search will intensify later on Monday morning.

Sergeant Bill Burt