CARTER COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Jerry Vinson and David Walka say the 69-year-old hunter was very tired when they found him walking along Bear Pen Road in rural Carter County on Wednesday afternoon.
"It was meant for us to find him. We just drove over there and we probably didn't look 30 to 40 minutes and there he was," Vinson said.
The lost hunter had been last seen when he left to go squirrel hunting around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
"He was glad to be found," Vinson said.
The lost hunter was James Tedder, from Mississippi.
"We thought 'We know the area, so we'll just go over there and look.' We asked the sheriff, he showed us kind of the plot, so I could put in my mind about where he was at. So, we drove over and sure enough, we found him," Walka said.
Walka and Vinson say while the hunter was a stranger, they share the same hobby and have all hunted these hills for years. They say in the thick woods of the Mark Twain National Forrest, getting lost can happen easier than you might think.
"He got turned around. Making circles. It was cloudy. He shot a squirrel out and it hit the ground and he got to looking for it and he got lost," Vinson said.
They say Tedder had walked most of the night, but managed to get some rest.
"He said it wasn't too bad. He got a good night's sleep with rain pounding on him," Walka said.
"He said he found a creek that morning and got him a bellyful of water. That's how he started his day," Vinson said.
They say despite his rough night, he had a sense of humor.
"He said 'Boys, you two are the prettiest men I've ever saw,'" Walka laughed.
When they drove him back to meet his friend, it was a very happy homecoming.
"His friend really broke down," Walka said.
"They hugged, you know, and he said he'd really been worried about him. It was a pretty touching moment. Us guys, we get a little saturated too, you know," Vinson said.
The men say the rest of the search crews were looking closer to where the hunter started, but when they found him, he was six miles from there.