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'He got lucky': After 30-below night stuck in truck, hunter rescued on remote road

John Myers, Duluth News Tribune on

Published in Outdoors

DULUTH, Minn. -- Dave Quiser decided to go for a ride on Christmas afternoon in hopes of finding a grouse or two along the back roads north of his home near Cook.

But instead the retired St. Louis County sheriff's deputy came close to losing his life in 30-below-zero temperatures.

He'll be lucky now if he doesn't lose any fingers or toes due to severe frostbite. He was listed in serious condition last Wednesday in the burn unit of Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

"They're hoping they won't have to amputate anything at this point. He's in a lot of pain now, but pain is good. It means he still has feeling," said Dana Sanders, Quiser's daughter.

Quiser, 72, was driving his Ford pickup about 10 miles northeast of Cook when it became stuck in a ditch along an unplowed logging road. He spent Christmas night in his truck, running the engine and heater.

Quiser later told his daughter that he heard an airplane he thought might be looking for him, and tried to signal SOS with his headlights, to no avail. On Tuesday, Quiser decided he was too far off the beaten path to ever be found, Sanders said. So he tried walking out to find help. It was still about 15 below zero.

"He called on Christmas to tell me he was going grouse hunting and where. So when he didn't call to tell me he was home, I got worried," said Sanders, who lives in Hibbing.

Sanders had her dad's neighbors check his place. When they found no one home she called 911. It was just after 10 p.m. on Christmas night.

Within minutes the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office and St. Louis County Rescue Squad were organizing a search. They looked for Quiser throughout the night, until 5 a.m., near where Quiser said he would be hunting, but with no luck. Temperatures dropped to about 30 below zero.

Quiser was a couple miles away from where he said he would be, stuck off the Haley Road. He had tried to back out from a narrow logging road when the truck dropped a wheel into a ditch and wouldn't budge.

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