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Dover man reported missing in Northern Alaska during caribou hunting trip

steve keel
Posted at 8:04 AM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 12:18:13-04

DOVER, Tenn. (WTVF) — Steve "Smiley" Keel is well-known in Stewart County. He's an electrician from Dover, married with three grown children. He's a 61-year-old Marine veteran and avid outdoorsman.

Steve Keel

He went to Alaska recently with a friend to hunt caribou.

They were camping in a rough, remote area in northern Alaska.

steve keel

The men shot two caribou and stored them a quarter mile away to keep bears away from the campsite.

Last Saturday morning, the friend told authorities that Keel left the campsite to go cut some meat from the caribou and never returned.

The friend then reported him missing. He apparently never made it to the caribou.

Search and rescue efforts since have found no trace of Keel and outfitters in the area say the terrain is rough and dangerous.

In some areas, there are mudflats that essentially act as quicksand or muskeg which resembles a plain covered with short grasses, but is soft and a human can get stuck and sink.

Those are possibilities, they say there is no sign of a bear attack and authorities have not ruled out the possibility of foul play.

Of course, it's also possible Keel somehow got lost and hopefully soon will be found.