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Elderly hunter found safe by late night search party

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 2:30pm

Search and rescue authorities found a missing hunter alive on the Sabine Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) shortly after Midnight on Nov. 6.

Authorities found Virgil Conway, 74, of Vinton, at 12:15 a.m. this morning on the WMA after he became disoriented and could not find his way back to his boat.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents were notified at 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 5 about an overdue hunter on the WMA. LDWF agents immediately coordinated a search effort with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, Ward 7 Fire Department and public volunteers who knew Conway and where he usually hunted.

Conway left to go hunting at 5 a.m. on Nov. 5, which was his last contact with family. He launched his aluminum flat bottom boat to go to one of his familiar hunting spots on the Sabine Island WMA. After hunting, Conway could not find his way back to his boat and was lost. His family then contacted authorities when he did not arrive home at his usual time.

Authorities located his boat at 7:30 p.m. and almost five hours later found Conway at least a mile away from where his boat was found. After Conway could not find his way back to his boat, he found an area that he could stay until help arrived. He only had three shotgun shells and shot two of them into the air after dark in an effort to alert searchers of his location.

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