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PINE RIVER (WJFW) - A 73-year-old male hunter was found dead outside Merrill Wednesday evening.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said they got the call around 4 p.m. that the man was missing, and they found the body just after 6 p.m.
The hunter lived off Pine Dells Road and County P in Pine River.
Sheriffs think he came back to his house, which is not far from the scene, to get his waders so he could go retrieve a deer he had shot.
Once he left the house to get the deer, he never returned.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office had their thermal imagining drone on the scene to help in the search. They found the body in Pine River.
"The ground crew had located the deer that he was going out to try and find," said Lincoln County Sheriff's Lt. Andy Vanderwyst. "We started there with the UAV, flew down river from there, ended up seeing a 'hot spot', is what we would call it, on the thermal imager. We alerted the grounds crew to that, they went down the river and were able to locate the victim."
Not only were emergency crews from around the area having to work in the dark, there were other difficult factors as well.
"Woods is difficult because it's thick, the water is high because of the rain we've had the last couple of days. The terrain is difficult, it's a little steep going down to the river. Everything becomes a little more difficult as you're working in the dark to begin with," said Vanderwyst.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office still have not released the name of the victim or a cause of death.