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Search Suspended For Bow Hunter After Rare Call For Volunteers

Grant County Sheriff's Office
Thomas Steig of North Bend, Washington, was reported him missing on Saturday.

The search for a missing bow hunter in central Washington has been temporarily called off because of worsening weather. This follows a rare call out for volunteer searchers to help in the effort.

Thomas Steig of North Bend, Washington, set out Friday to go hunting in rural Grant County. His wife reported him missing on Saturday. Missing hunters are not uncommon. But this case is different. The Grant County Sheriff’s office did something police agencies rarely do -- a general call out to the public to help with the search.

“We haven’t put out a call for volunteers in recent years,” sheriff’s spokesman Kyle Foreman said. He added that this search in a vast and remote area demanded extra boots on the ground.

“We felt we had a time constraint with the bad weather coming in that we wanted to get as many as volunteers as possible,” Forman said.

About 100 people showed up to help. The volunteers were registered as temporary emergency workers so they could be covered by state liability insurance.

Searchers have been combing the sagebrush landscape on horseback, ATV and foot. A helicopter also joined the search. If the weather improves, a military plane may do a flyover using infrared cameras.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."