Mystery surrounds outdoors-man’s death and being possibly EATEN: All that remain of Valley biologist are a few fragments of bone.
By CRAIG MEDRED
Anchorage Daily News
(Published: October 24, 2004)
No one will ever know for certain what happened to former Palmer resident Bart Schleyer.
His last contact with another human was when a chartered floatplane left him at the larger of the Reid Lakes in Canada’s Yukon Territory on Sept. 14. When the plane returned two weeks later, the experienced woodsman was gone...
...“Dib Williams, a friend of Schleyer’s in Whitehorse, didn’t much like the limited response of the RCMP and recruited pilot friend Wayne Curry of Pelly Crossing to fly him back to the site for a better look at the camp.
It didn’t take them long to find where Schleyer had been. His tent had been knocked down, either by wind or animals, Curry said, but his gear was still all there. They searched the area around the tent and found a backpack. Sitting near it were Schleyer’s bear spray, the VHF radio he carried to talk to aircraft and a knife.
Williams didn’t like the look of that. He figured that if Schleyer had decided to try making the long hike out to the Klondike Highway, he’d have taken that gear with him.
As nightfall approached that day, Curry and Williams left, feeling that they had better return and investigate further.
“The second day,” Curry said, “we started concentrating around the boat.
That’s when we ran across the bow.
About 60 yards back in the woods from the boat, Schleyer’s bow and arrows in a handmade buckskin quiver were leaned up against a tree next to a dry-bag full of gear on which he’d obviously been sitting.
“It still had a cradle in it like he was sitting on it and just got up, like a saddle,” said David Fritz, a Susitna Valley friend of Schleyer’s who has seen photos of the scene taken by the Mounties.
Curtis said the bag was on flat ground adjacent to a thicket of black spruce and willows. To Curtis, an experienced moose hunter, it looked like the sort of place an archer might set up if trying to call a moose into range.
“It was kind of on the edge of it,” he said. “It was a little more open there. For sure he was calling (moose) from there.” As the men broadened their search around the bow and the seat, they found a camouflage face mask with blood on it. They decided then it was time to call the Mounties back. “His face mask had hair and blood on it,” said Dan Foster, a friend and the Valley taxidermist for whom Schleyer sometimes worked.
On Oct. 3, about a dozen Mounties, Yukon conservation officers and civilian volunteers flew back to the area to begin a grid search. At first, Parker said, they found little but bear and wolf signs — scat and tracks — in the area. Then someone spotted a piece of clothing.
“One of our constables saw a ball cap, and that’s what tipped them off,” she said.
Further searching nearby turned up a pair of camouflage pants, a camera, part of a skull and a few bones.
“The bow was standing against a spruce tree,” Parker said. “From there to where they found the bones, that was about 60 meters away.
For the full article, click here.