Rescued hunters recount two-day survival in west desert

Local News

HOOPER, Utah (ABC4 News) – Two Weber County hunters are home safe and sound after spending two days stuck on a dirt road in Nevada.  

Chad Strain and Lee Peters say they’re grateful to be home with their families and glad that they’re not still stuck in the west desert; freezing and figuring out how to get help.  

Chad Strain’s truck stuck on a dirt road roughly 30-miles from Jackpot, Nevada.
Courtesy: Lee Peters

“So, once the truck hit the soft snow in the drift side, then it stuck down so it was kinda muddy underneath and between just me and him,” Chad Strain said, “and not having everything we should have had, got stuck and couldn’t get out.”

Stranded roughly 30-miles from Jackpot, Nevada, Chad Strain and Lee Peters said their day-trip turned into a two-day survival with limited resources.

“Trying to dig out that seven hours was really used an ice scraper and my hat and a piece of board from a fence,” Lee Peters said.

With no cell service to call for help, the men say they remained fairly optimistic.

“All of the friends and family that we have that I know they wouldn’t let us stay out too much longer than we were up there,” Chad Strain said.

Friends and family searched alongside search and rescue crews and Box Elder and Elko County sheriff’s departments for the two men.

“The first night after it started snowing, and everyone was like, ‘Mom, we can’t keep looking. There’s just no way,” said Robin Peters, Lee Peters’ wife. “I just know the guys are really savvy, but when you’re out in the elements like that, no matter how savvy you are, it can be brutal.”

But when search crews found the men Monday night, it was a relief.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me? This isn’t real. There’s no way,’” said Cassiea Strain, Chad Strain’s wife. “And sure enough, the next thing I had was my husband calling me. When you’re waiting, it’s so heavy and you don’t realize how heavy it is and to hear him say, ‘ Hey, baby, I’m OK. I’m OK. I’m completely OK.’ You can’t explain the weight that just rushes out of your whole body.”

Chad Strain and Lee Peters said they were excited to see their friends and family again and are grateful for the countless people who shared posts on social media and drove to Montello, Nevada, to aid in the search.

Following their rescue, a reunion dinner was provided by Debbi Cook, of Montello, Nevada.

The friends of 13 years said they never shot any jackrabbits, but rather, ended up with an experience they won’t forget.

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