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Overdue Arizona hunters all accounted for

/ Source: The Associated Press

Northern Arizona authorities say they've resolved all reports of stranded or overdue hunters who were caught in deep snow and freezing temperatures.

In all, authorities received 22 reports either from hunters themselves or families concerned about their loved ones. Coconino County Sheriff's Office spokesman Gerry Blair said 50 hunters were offered assistance, some of whom declined.

A powerful winter storm dumped between 2 and 3 feet of snow in northern Arizona earlier this week, and wind gusts reached up to 78 mph.

No injuries had been reported Thursday, Blair said. Searchers focused on retrieving hunters who might have been low on food and heating fuel.

Another storm could hit the area this weekend.

The elk hunting season ended Thursday. Between 2,500 and 3,000 permits were issued for the latest nearly weeklong hunt, said Shelly Shepherd, a spokeswoman for the state Game and Fish Department.

Many hunters are well equipped for long hunting trips, with propane, generators, days worth of food, all-terrain and four-wheel drive vehicles, and camping trailers, Shepherd said.

"They do come prepared and do come with supplies, (but) it's hard to say how much they brought," she said.

One hunter died Monday night when wind gusts sent a pine tree crashing down on his tent as he slept. Blair said those who have been rescued are cold and hungry but have not had any major medical issues.