$15,000 Reward for Missing Haul Road Hunter Steve Keel - OP updated to show locations

Larry Bartlett

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Hope they check those open tundra slumps well too. If a bear got him it could have utilized one of those erosion slumps to cache the remains, the open cracks would conceal any trace from above and standing next to it. Found a caribou kill inside one ten years ago....griz had covered the remains and only one antler was still attached. I walked right past it, my partner glimpsed the antler palm down in the crack under dirt and upturned tundra.

man that's sickening. RIP
 

Rob5589

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I don't hunt true grizz country but, going back in to retrieve meat, in grizz areas, alone, sounds like a bad idea.

Hopefully he's found so there can be some closure.
 

SuspiciousFish

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The use of a compass or nav device only works as long as you believe what it's telling you. If you're disoriented, confused or hypothermic it's very easy to disbelieve a device. I've seen guys totally discount a compass and walk the wrong way. The biggest mistake often made is to wait until one is completely disoriented before employing a device, and then not trusting what it tells you.

I remember the first time I used my compass to cross reference OnX on my phone. I held the compass next to my phone and looked at the two. Right away the compass needle moved and pointed at my phone instead of North. I made a mental note to never do that again.
 

SuspiciousFish

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People will start to talk crazy about what happened. What ifs in all directions. Truth is this is not the first time someone disappeared unexplained while hunting. I will bet it will not be the last time it happens either. We as hunters take the risk every time we leave the safe places. I know if it was me at least I went doing something I love.

This reminds me of that Missing 411 series where that guy goes through all the missing person cases. There are some crazy stories for sure. Personally I never trust an app in itself. Always have a real navigation compass out and reference it in conjunction with your phone. That way in case your phone dies, GPS craps out etc you have a decent reference to go in the right direction to a land mark or road.
 

long hunter

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I find it interesting all the discussions about compass work and not one mention of a topo map of the area your hunting. And the other thing is use a real compass ( and know how yo use it) not the one on your phone. Anytime I am in a un-familiar area hunting three things go along a lanimated topo map of the area, a good lensatic compass and a grease pencil, as I move I make refrence notations on the map as to degree sightings, direction of movement and time of checks. Along with any obvious terraine features. And who the hell lets a friend go alone especially in a area where you know there are grizzly bears. I would be giving the buddy the 1000 questions treatment if you know what I mean.
 

SuspiciousFish

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I find it interesting all the discussions about compass work and not one mention of a topo map of the area your hunting. And the other thing is use a real compass ( and know how yo use it) not the one on your phone. Anytime I am in a un-familiar area hunting three things go along a lanimated topo map of the area, a good lensatic compass and a grease pencil, as I move I make refrence notations on the map as to degree sightings, direction of movement and time of checks. Along with any obvious terraine features. And who the hell lets a friend go alone especially in a area where you know there are grizzly bears. I would be giving the buddy the 1000 questions treatment if you know what I mean.
100% this. Also, learn how to triangulate your position and how to read a top map. There were a lot of times on my first hunting trip a few weeks ago that it helped having the ability to read the topo even on OnX to orientate myself in relation to the terrain and know how elevation and slopes look. It makes planning routes on the fly much more effective than just trudging along with the satellite view. Dont forget to look up and adjust your compass declination to your trip as well. Its surprising actually how rock solid you can be navigating with a compass if you know what you are doing.
 

Confluentus

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I find it interesting all the discussions about compass work and not one mention of a topo map of the area your hunting. And the other thing is use a real compass ( and know how yo use it) not the one on your phone. Anytime I am in a un-familiar area hunting three things go along a lanimated topo map of the area, a good lensatic compass and a grease pencil, as I move I make refrence notations on the map as to degree sightings, direction of movement and time of checks. Along with any obvious terraine features. And who the hell lets a friend go alone especially in a area where you know there are grizzly bears. I would be giving the buddy the 1000 questions treatment if you know what I mean.

Topo map doesn’t do you much good in featureless tundra and thick fog.
 

ScreamingPotato

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The use of a compass or nav device only works as long as you believe what it's telling you. If you're disoriented, confused or hypothermic it's very easy to disbelieve a device. I've seen guys totally discount a compass and walk the wrong way. The biggest mistake often made is to wait until one is completely disoriented before employing a device, and then not trusting what it tells you.
I can attest to this because I've lived it. Heavy sea fog at night in a big bay I drove my boat around in circles while thinking my phone was going crazy due to weather (no GPS on boat).
 

Broomd

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I don't hunt true grizz country but, going back in to retrieve meat, in grizz areas, alone, sounds like a bad idea.

..
It certainly was. If these two had traveled together that morning this tragic story would likely be one of success and fond memories.

This man probably got disoriented, lost, fell victim to weather and then ultimately predation. One month is a helluva long time up there among the fox, wolves and bears. He'll likely not be found.

Sad situation.
Edit, a bit more FB info from a Keel friend:

In the two weeks of searching, zero bears were seen in the search area. As of Sunday, the gut piles remained for both kills undisturbed and the pack remained undisturbed for around 10 days. The was also no sign of a bear attack.
As far Bryans involvement, he stayed and searched for several days after Steve went missing. I have been incontact with him since he has been home and he has gone out of his way to help with the search and me get information to the searchers. There is zero substantiated evidence to lead me to believe that he had anything to do with Steves disappeance.
Steve is a former Marine and by all accounts an excellent outdoorsman. The ground in the area he went missing is covered in blue berries, and there is pleanty of fresh water. We are unsure if he had anything to start a fire with, and there is not much on the ground there that will burn. the tempatures there rang this time of year between the mid 40's for the highs and the nights get cold. Fog can move in at anytime.
 
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SuspiciousFish

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Topo map doesn’t do you much good in featureless tundra and thick fog.

A compass and some awareness does though. He could have known the road was due East, pulled out the compass and even if his bearing was not perfect he would have at least gotten to the road which was no more than 3-4 miles from any of the camps. That and who goes hunting with a buddy, gets a kill and separates without radios? Any decent radio would have range over flat tundra like that. Especially getting a meat pack in bear country. I would radio check every 10 to 15 min in a situation like that if we had to get separated.

I was in a similar situation on our bow hunt earlier this year here in CO. We were over 12,000 ft and above the tree line and my hunting partner stayed back to glass some timber and I hiked over a ways to look around a knoll. I radio checked with the volume down periodically and eventually broke contact due to terrain. There was tons of fresh sign everywhere and prime bedding areas. I moved forward a little more with my arrow nocked and could almost feel the elk there and the wind was perfect. But suddenly a cold smoke fog came rolling over the peak and socked us in, visibility down to 20-30 ft then the hail started.

I was able to navigate back to where I knew I last had radio contact using a compass and OnX, radio checked in and we ended up scrambling down to the tree line when a thunder clapped. It still gets me a little that I could have gotten on elk if I had kept moving across the knoll but there are rules in the back county and you dont break them no matter the opportunity.
 

CaliWoodsman

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This is one of the most captivating, tragic stories I've followed in a while. Can't imagine what his family is going through, nor what he went through.
 

Kevin Dill

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Right now imagination and conjecture are all we have.

Unless there was undulating terrain or fog between tent and backpack, he would have been within sight of camp. 0.6 miles on open tundra looks very short to the eye....same as it does in the desert.

I'm still perplexed about why an experienced guy would leave his entire backpack over 1/2 mile from camp. Illogical to me. I would never do that. Drop the meat and bring the pack to camp....yes. Maybe he was exhausted and just needed to dump the thing and get to camp. Apparently he never even made it back to the pack which only adds to the mystery. Did he get disoriented that quickly?

Fog on flat tundra is entirely disorienting...like flying through clouds. With no visual references you're navigating blindly with 359 out of 360 chances to be wrong. When the fog clears you may well be clueless if all you can see is featureless tundra in every direction.

One problem with locating lost people is how vastly the search area increases as search radius expands. A 2 mile radius = 12.5 sq mile search area. A 3 mile radius = 28.25 sq miles. 5 miles = 78.5 sq miles to search.
 

cornfedkiller

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I wonder if his partner started firing shots after one hour.

Excuse my ignorance, but is this standard procedure? An hour just because at that distance, he should've been back by then? And I assume its just so the missing guy knows what direction camp is if he's disorientated?
 

kpk

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I'm still perplexed about why an experienced guy would leave his entire backpack over 1/2 mile from camp. Illogical to me. I would never do that. Drop the meat and bring the pack to camp....yes. Maybe he was exhausted and just needed to dump the thing and get to camp. Apparently he never even made it back to the pack which only adds to the mystery. Did he get disoriented that quickly?

Maybe he was having a serious medical episode and never said anything. I know 2 guys in the last year, right around 60 years old, that have had heart attacks with near 100% blockages that ignored symptoms for several days. Our daycare lady's husband had one and ignored the pain for 2 or 3 days - never even told his wife until he went in to the ER, and was then in surgery later that day. The other guy I know of went for a morning walk the day after his heart attack, literally thinking he could "walk it off". Maybe this guy thought it was just exhaustion, dumped the pack, and thought he could sleep/walk it off.

The .6 miles is really something though. Such a short distance to get lost to the point of no return. There's only a few explanations and none of them are good.
 
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DLIP

DLIP

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Kansas
Right now imagination and conjecture are all we have.

Unless there was undulating terrain or fog between tent and backpack, he would have been within sight of camp. 0.6 miles on open tundra looks very short to the eye....same as it does in the desert.

I'm still perplexed about why an experienced guy would leave his entire backpack over 1/2 mile from camp. Illogical to me. I would never do that. Drop the meat and bring the pack to camp....yes. Maybe he was exhausted and just needed to dump the thing and get to camp. Apparently he never even made it back to the pack which only adds to the mystery. Did he get disoriented that quickly?

Fog on flat tundra is entirely disorienting...like flying through clouds. With no visual references you're navigating blindly with 359 out of 360 chances to be wrong. When the fog clears you may well be clueless if all you can see is featureless tundra in every direction.

One problem with locating lost people is how vastly the search area increases as search radius expands. A 2 mile radius = 12.5 sq mile search area. A 3 mile radius = 28.25 sq miles. 5 miles = 78.5 sq miles to search.

Hey @Kevin Dill - from the videos I've watched of the search, there is a hill that obstructs the view of the pack from the camp site. Just throwing that out there.
 

long hunter

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Topo map doesn’t do you much good in featureless tundra and thick fog.
Perhaps not, but a good map as stated with information noted on it such as degree readings, pace count between check points those sort of things especially in a flat featureless area and bad weather is better than just winging it.
 
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