Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Discovering Bones in The Backcountry.

It's not uncommon to come across bones in the backcountry.  Deer, elk, rabbit and squirrel  and other wildlife bones are found by hikers and hunters while moving through the woods.  But what about human remains.  In Oregon, since 1995, 246 people have gone into the backcountry and have not returned or been found (this is separate from criminal cases.)  What should you do?

Last week while at a Search and Rescue (SAR) conference I sat through an excellent presentation by the state of Oregon's medical examiner.

She offered her suggestions regarding the discovery of human remains in the field.

First, don't move the remains or other items such as clothing, shoes and other personal effects.  You may have found a crime scene.

Second, take a picture of the bone that is found.  A cell phone camera is fine.  Put a reference to determine size for the examiner.  For example, a ruler works best but the sole of your boot would help too. 

Use your GPS to  record the geographic coordinates of the scene.

Consider marking the location with flagging tape.

Contact and forward the image to the local law enforcement authorities.

The image below says it well.

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