It's a situation that could have ended very tragically, had it not been for a group of Game Warden trainees who happened to be in the right place at the right time. And thank goodness they were.

According to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokesperson, Mark Latti, it all started innocently enough, as a young local family decided to go ice fishing with their kids on Moosehead Lake.

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"Ruby Goodmen, age 31 of Greenville, and Joseph Wentworth, age 32 of Orland were out on Moosehead Lake yesterday ice fishing with two children, ages 5 and 2, and their dog when the weather started to worsen. One of the children was already wet, so it was decided that Goodmen would head home with the wet five-year-old and the dog, while Wentworth picked up their ice fishing gear, then would head back with his two-year-old, and catch up with them."

Snowy winter forest scene

But then, as the weather in Maine tends to do when it's stormy, things went from bad to worse quickly.

"Very quickly, the weather got worse. At nearly the same time, Goodmen’s snowmobile broke down before she could get home, and due to whiteout conditions from the heavy snow and high winds, Wentworth could not see well enough to drive to them, and the heavy snow had already covered existing snowmobile tracks. Both called 911 and said they were stranded and separated in worsening weather conditions out on the lake."

In a stroke of complete luck, the Maine Advanced Warden's School had been conducting a training exercise nearby. And although the training had ended early for the evening, Latti said almost half of the class had decided to stay at a camp nearby.

GPS receiver on background map.

The Game Warden Cadres, Wardens Joshua Polland, and Chad Robertson split the Warden Trainees into 2 groups. And with the help of the Bangor Regional Communications Center, were able to figure out an approximate GPS location for both parents (and their kiddos) based on the 911 calls each had made.

Moosehead Lake Rescue, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Moosehead Lake Rescue, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

In under an hour, both mom, dad, both kids, and the dog were all located and brought to safety.

A little wet and cold, but no worse for the wear, the family was able to return home together that evening, thanks to the efforts of a group of Maine Game Wardens and their trainees.

15 Must-Have Items For Ice Fishing Season In Maine

Ice fishing is an excellent way to embrace the cold winter months in Maine. It will get you outdoors for some fresh air, it's family friendly, and a successful day could yield a tasty dinner. If you're new to the sport, we put together a list of gear you'll need for a fun, comfortable, and successful day on the ice. Some of these items are more essential than others. Some gear may not be essential at all, depending on how you plan to fish. Again, the items we listed are geared towards those who are new to ice fishing.

Before we get to the list, remember to dress appropriately for the cold weather. We didn't put warm outerwear on the list, but it's definitely a must-have. Dressing in layers is important to ensure you're warm enough throughout the day on the ice. If you start getting too warm, you can simply take a layer off. Hand warmers are also worth packing.

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