Tragedy Near the Gulch: Body of an Overdue Montana Hunter Found
This was not a case of foul play or the inability to fend off an animal attack.
But there is likely little comfort in that for friends and family of a man who was probably doing something that he loved all his life. In what is being attributed to health issues, the Montana hunting community lost one of its own this week.
Though challenging, the Truman Gulch area is forgiving enough that lots of recreation lovers at various levels of ability take advantage of all it has to offer along the western side of the Bridger Range. But with plenty of damp and thick vegetation, that does not mean that a person could not wander off the main paths and go unnoticed. And its trailhead is where Gallatin County authorities began a search, leading to the worst news search and rescue personnel inevitably face sometimes as part of their job.
The online publication Explore Big Sky reports that on Tuesday, Gallatin County Dispatch received a call from concerned family members about an overdue hunter. The callers knew where the hunter's vehicle would be, near the Truman Gulch trailhead. And though the truck was there, there was no sign of the hunter. Since he was now several hours late and had a medical history, a drone team, dog team and helicopter were called in to take part in the search as nightfall descended.
And it was the Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue Dog Team that located the deceased hunter Wednesday morning. He has been identified as 65-year-old Joseph Raymond Balyeat of Bozeman. It was determined that he died of natural causes.
Mr. Balyeat was a former Montana State Legislator.
Montana's Top 10 Record-Setting Wild Weather Events
RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks