On Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, at 1:42 a.m., Steven Dowling called SHASCOM to report his hunting partner, Benjy Moles, 47 years old of Cottonwood, CA, was missing west of Castle Crags State Park. Dowling said they were hunting near Castle Crags Rd. and Root Creek, when they were separated at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Dowling and some other friends searched for Moles prior to calling the Sheriff’s Office.
Shasta County Sheriff’s Office personnel and Shasta County Search and Rescue Volunteers responded to the area and began searching for Moles. At daylight, the California Highway Patrol helicopter responded to assist in the search. At approximately 10:50 a.m., Moles was located by the CHP Air Operations crew walking along a USFS road. Search and Rescue Volunteers were guided in to Moles and provided him transportation back to his friends.
Moles said he got into some thick brush while hunting and once it got dark, he struggled to move through the woods. He continued to move through the night trying to find his way back, but struggled in the darkness. He said he had little water and a few power bars with him. By the time he was located, he said he was very thirsty and hungry. He was checked by medical personnel near the scene and he went home with his friends.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people hunting in the wilderness to not hunt alone, take proper gear with them and have a cellphone or PLB type device for emergencies. You should always let someone know where you are going and when you should be returning.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Search and Rescue Volunteers and CHP Air Operations for their assistance in locating Moles. They live up to the Search and Rescue motto, “That Others May Live”.