FWC: Missing turkey hunter rescued after more than 24 hours in Sumter County woods

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer and their K-9 partner are being credited with finding a hunter who spent more than 24 hours lost in a wooded area in Sumter County.


According to a report from FWC, the hunter was dropped off on the morning of March 28 along a road in the Green Swamp Wildlife Management Area for a wild turkey hunt.

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Other members of the hunter’s party reported him missing at approximately 2:30 p.m. after he failed to return to a designated meeting spot.

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FWC officers joined K-9 units from multiple other agencies in the search, including the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Corrections.

After searching throughout the afternoon and evening, the effort was temporarily suspended until 7 a.m. the next day, according to FWC.

That’s when FWC K-9 Officer Malachi Wilkins deployed K-9 Havoc and began searching from the missing hunter’s last known location.

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According to FWC, Havoc tracked for approximately a half-mile before finding the hunter sitting on a fallen tree at approximately 9:30 a.m.

The man, who at that point had spent more than 24 hours in the woods, was taken to a check station in the WMA where emergency medical service personnel waited to evaluate him and found no major medical issues.

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