Vanishing Hunters (Movie Review)

You’d think if anyone would be relatively safe in the wilderness, it’d be a hunter–experienced, knowledgeable, well-equipped, and armed with one or more weapons.

But you’d be wrong.

David Paulides has devoted years of research to more than 1,000 cases of people going missing in our national parks and wilderness areas. He has many videos on Youtube and this, Missing 411: The Hunted, is his full-length feature film focusing on hunters who have disappeared, with detailed examinations of five of the most puzzling cases. We rented it on Youtube.

Forget puzzling. These are downright mystifying. One missing hunter must have reached a place from which he could see a road, water, and buildings–safe at last!–only he never made it any farther. Sometimes the searchers find the bodies; sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they find bodies or discarded gear in places that they’ve already searched, finding nothing. It’s as if someone or something has returned to deposit those items there, after the initial search.

It’s so weird! The search and rescue teams do all that can be done, sometimes involving hundreds of searchers plus dogs, helicopters, and drones. Some of the most thorough searches prove futile. Sometimes the hunter vanishes without a trace. Other times they find his gear left in very unlikely places. At one of the locations from which a hunter inexplicably disappeared, there seemed to be a complete absence of wildlife. Not so much as a squirrel. No one could explain it; there was no reason for it.

We can presume that hunters know it’s a really bad idea to go wandering off alone into perilous terrain. It’s probably a bad idea just to be alone in the wilderness, period. But in one of these cases, a woman hunting deer on her own property, in Ohio–close enough to a nearby high school football field that she could hear the band practicing–saw something in the woods that she could only describe as “like the Predator, in that movie”–and which she then somehow managed to “forget”–forget?–for a few hours, until someone accidentally jogged her memory. Do these encounters mess with your mind?

These disappearances have occurred in national parks and wilderness areas all over the country. After all his years of study, Mr. Paulides makes no attempt to say “Here’s what I think is happening!” He simply presents the cases as he finds them; and no one he interviews is bold enough to trot out any kind of answer.

No one knows what’s making these hunters disappear. And that’s kind of a scary situation, isn’t it?


3 comments on “Vanishing Hunters (Movie Review)

  1. I was hiking to the top of Half Dome one time and camped overnight on the way. I had a fire going because of the cold, and as i lay in my sleeping bag I could see the fire reflected in the eyes of large animals staring at me. I successfully made it to the top of Half Dome but decided never to go into the wilderness alone again.

Leave a Reply