Bowhunter Crawls Four Days With Broken Leg to Safety

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When you are alone in the woods, it is so important to watch your footing. Even a broken leg in the wilderness can become a life threatening injury. Just ask John Sain, the 50-year-old Montana native who spent four days dragging himself out of the woods after a slip and fall broke his leg.

Sain, who was recovering at a Boise, Idaho hospital, told the local KTVB Channel 7 that he was contemplating suicide when realized his leg was broken in two spots and he might not make it out alive. But after writing letters to his family, he realized he couldn’t do it.

“There was no way,” he told the station. “I was going to make it.”

Sain had hiked about six miles off the trail to go bowhunting when he stepped on a log and slipped.

“There were two logs, and my foot slipped in between them,” he said. “My momentum went forward and it snapped the two bottom bones in my right leg, the tib and the fib in half.”

Having made the decision to get out alive, Sain built a splint with two sticks and with sheer grit dragged himself along the trail by his hands. He built fires each night using an outdoor survival kit and ate the small amount of food he had along. After two and half days he didn’t think he was going to make it. By the fourth day, tired and depleted, his prayers were answered and a pair of dirt bikers found him on the trail.

But even paramedics had trouble reaching the injured man. A landing zone for the helicopter had to be cleared with chain saws and rescue workers traveled 12 miles roundtrip to carry Sain out on a gurney. As he recovered at an area hospital, his wife said it was difficult to wrap her mind around the events.

“It was hard just knowing he’s out in the hills trying to stay alive. It still doesn’t feel real to me,” she told Channel 7.

A long time hunter, Sain said his dad has been dropping him off in the middle of the woods by himself since he was 13. He’ll continue hunting, but next time he said he plans to bring a GPS or satellite phone.

Photo credit: Dreamstime