Whitehorse Daily Star

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Twelve year old Andy Lutz who spent five days lost in the bush near Upper Liard. However, the experience didn't bother Andy who says: "I've been hunting since I was a little kid." Right now Andy is in Whitehorse General Hospital with two frostbitten toes. Whitehorse Star Photo

Youngster Five Days in Bush

Lost near upper Liard but not worried at all

By Whitehorse Star on April 11, 1963

The Whitehorse Star, Thursday, April 11, 1963

Youngster Five Days in Bush

Lost near upper Liard but not worried at all

Five days lost in the bush last week didn't bother a resourceful 12 year-old Upper Liard youngster. Although he suffered frostbitten toes, he says, "I wasn't scared. I've been hunting since I was a little kid."

Young Andy Lutz is in whitehorse General Hospital receiving treatment for two frozen toes that are the only ill effects he suffered after spending five days lost in the bush near Upper Liard.

In freezing weather, without blankets or food and without a fire after the first day, Andy showed presence of mind rare even in adults. After making a bed of spruce boughs, he got his two dogs to sleep each side of him for warmth... he shot a squirrel and ate it raw.

"After two days of trying to find the highway," Andy said. "I got wise with myself and figured the only way to get out was to back track myself."

He was on his way out when he was found.

Twelve year-old Andy said in hospital here, "Last Sunday I went hunting for rabbits and I thought I was coming back that afternoon. I went about five miles, saw a rabbit and chased it and then I didn't know which direction to go. I wasn't in that area before. It got dark and I didn't know what to do so I camped . I looked for my matches and I only had a couple in a box. I always have two boxes but couldn't find the other. I got a fire going and camped there the night.

"Next day I heard a truck going and tried to find the highway. I made a big circle and came right back where I was. The day after it was the same. I went the other way and came right back. Then I got smart with myself. Thursday I backtracked and that's when they found me. I had just got to a lake.

Made Fire

"The first night I made a big fire and, when it was out, I laid branches on the coals to keep warm and got the dogs to lie on each side of me. King, that's my dog, stayed all night but the little black one, Bronco, went away for a while but gave up being alone and came back."

"The other nights only the dogs kept me warm."

Andy was wearing a parka, heavy pants and moccasins while in the bush.

When visited in Whitehorse Hospital, Andy was flitting around in bed like a chipmunk. He has a smile that has made him the favorite of all the nurses. These are the same nurses who two weeks ago cared for Helen Klaben and Ralph Flores, the two plane crash survivors who spent 49 days, virtually without food, in the bush country near Watson Lake.

"That darn black dog," Andy laughed, "he ate my lunch when I put it down to chase the rabbit. I could have shot him."

The Monday after he tried to find the highway and had circled back to where he had started from, the young hunter made a lean-to out of spruce boughs.

"It sure was cold and I was sure hungry," he recalled. "But I had heard about those people being without food for so long, and I knew I could last.

Andy's father had been searching all day for him.

Tuesday, while Andy again was hunting for the highway, his dad, his older brother Dixon Lutz, and a friend, Russel Burger were combing the mountainside.

Then Andy spent another night in his lean-to with the dog to keep him warm.

"Wednesday," he said, "I did some thinking all day. I got smart with myself and figured I would back track myself in the morning."

That night he shot a squirrel and ate it raw. It sure was funny to eat," he said, "and it sort of made me sick."

Ray Donney and Russel Magum had joined in the search Wednesday and on Thursday an all out search was organized by the R.C.M.P. Andy was found by Thompson Caesar Thursday morning, making his way out.

"I wasn't scared at all," he said. "I knew I could get out. I had lots of ammunition for my rifle."

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