Skip to main content

Rescuers save lost hunter who spent three nights in the woods

He brought along 6 crackers for a half-day trip, a report says.

A 61-year-old man who expected to spend a few hours hunting grouse in eastern Minnesota on Monday wound up on the receiving end of a dramatic rescue three days later. 

The State Patrol says the Minnesota Aerial Rescue Team located the lost hunter on Wednesday night by using a thermal camera attached to a small plane. 

After sunrise on Thursday they were able to reach him and pull him up from a Pine County bog to the safety of a helicopter. 

Six peanut butter crackers and bog water

Newspaper reports identify the hunter as Robert Kniefel of Lakeville. 

After his first night lost in the the Nemadji State Forest, Kniefel was able to reach his family by cellphone Tuesday morning to say he needed to be rescued, the Star Tribune reports

He built a fire on an island in a bog and it was detected Wednesday night by the Aerial Rescue Team, which is a partnership between the State Patrol and the St. Paul Fire Department. 

Crews on the ground could not get to him, though, because of the thick foliage and the swampy terrain. So in the morning a firefighter rapelled down from a chopper to get him. 

Captain Steve Sampson of the St. Paul Fire Department told the Pioneer Press Kniefel was "extremely overcome with emotion and extremely grateful." 

The State Patrol posted a video showing some of the rescue. 

According to the Pioneer Press, the only food Kniefel had with him was six peanut butter crackers, which were gone on Monday. The paper says Kniefel drank water from the bogs to survive. 

Luckily, he had a lighter to help him make fires and the nighttime temperatures have been mild this week. 

The State Patrol says after the rescue he was checked out at a hospital. 

Kniefel and his family declined comment to both newspapers.

Next Up

Flickr - face masks covid pole - Ivan Radic

'Everyone should really be masking up' in public, Malcolm says

The health commissioner said residents have gotten "a little bit lax" with some protective measures.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton believes he's the best player in baseball

"Nobody [does] the things that I do. I know that."

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.

brian ingram

Woodfired Cantina closes at Keg and Case in St. Paul

Restaurateur Brian Ingram is focusing on growing his other concepts.

giant bear

Video: 'THE fattest bear we have ever seen' spotted on MN trail camera

"This might be THE fattest bear we have ever seen in our area," researchers said.


Compass saves a hunter who got lost in the woods

He got separated from his hunting party in northern Minnesota.

Compass saves a hunter who got lost in the woods

He got separated from his hunting party in northern Minnesota.

20 rescuers save horse stuck in bog

A woman called 911 in desperation after her horse Teddy, a 20-plus-year-old Tennessee walker, strayed out of his pasture and into a nearby spruce bog, where he sank to his hips in the muck. The St. Louis County Rescue Squad happened to be gathered for a monthly meeting and rushed to help.

Sheriff: Man, 71, likely saved 3 hunters from death

Their boat capsized while hunting on Crow Wing County lake.

This family dog showed rescuers where to find a missing toddler

A helicopter crew spotted the pooch, who stayed with the boy until help arrived.

A guy heard on the police scanner a woman was drowning – so he saved her

He heard on the police scanner that someone needed help.

Rescuers finally saved a cat that was stuck in a Waconia drain pipe for 4 days

'Piper' became the subject of an intense rescue effort in Waconia.