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TV tips help hunter survive in Weber canyon

A deer hunter who spent a cold night stranded on top of a mountain was able to stay alive thanks to what he learned from a cable-TV reality show.

The 34-year-old Kaysville man is a fan of the Discovery Channel show "Man vs. Wild" and told Weber County sheriff's deputies he used a couple of survival pointers from the show when he became lost Saturday night on Lightning Ridge near Monte Cristo.

"He was out there hunting with a couple of his friends," Weber County Sheriff's Capt. Klint Anderson said Monday. "They got separated and he didn't make it out."

As a vicious snowstorm moved across the area Saturday night, sheriff's search and rescue teams were helpless to reach Ryan Hart. That left Hart alone with his wits — and the tips he picked up from the TV program, in which the show's host strands himself in remote areas and fends for himself using survival skills.

"He took pine needles and stuffed them in his jacket to provide insulation," Anderson said. Deputies said the man made a bed of pine boughs to lie on and started a fire, lining the fire pit with rocks.

"He'd take these rocks and line either side of the bed with them, trading them out in the fire to keep warm," Anderson said.

By dawn Sunday, the weather had cleared and searchers were getting ready to mobilize. By that time, deputies said Hart had hiked to help, hitching a ride down the mountain with other hunters to an area where he could call to tell everyone he was OK.

"Meantime, one of the helicopters spotted the smoke coming out of the trees," Anderson said. "They put it down and found his spot."

Searchers were impressed with Hart's TV-inspired survival skills and were glad he was watching "Man vs. Wild" and not something like "America's Next Top Model."

"Some of these reality shows have some value," Anderson said.