Thanks for tuning into KSL Outdoors, tonight we have a really special story for you about a young man named Bridger Card. I first met met Bridger about four of five years ago when he was 15. Bridger has a lot medical problems, he has brain tumors and he’s had them for most of his young life. Tonight we are taking him on a hunt here in Wyoming, for elk and for deer. Let’s introduce you to the young man.>
<(Ryan Mosley, DWR; Project leader Flaming Gorge) How are you doing Bridger? Nice to meet you buddy. (bridger) I remember you. Shakes are for strangers. (hugs) (ryan) nice to meet you bud.>
<(Dave) He is a hugger, yeah don't try and shake his hand.>
I first met Bridger about six years ago. He’s a very loving kid and you would never know it by looking at his smiling face, but bridger has been battling for his life since he was just a toddler.
<(Dave Card, Bridger's Dad) He actually had Hydrocephalus when he was five or six months old. He was pretty little. Then he was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was two. He underwent chemo at the age of two for the first time.>
<(Bridger Card) I think I had nine brain surgeries back in high school.>
<(Dave Card) it's been very hard. It's been hard his whole life but really particularly the last few years. The last couple of years he's been through chemo twice and radiation once and radiation was really tough on him physically and caused it's own problems really. He's always had just an awesome attitude, he's just a great kid, he loves the outdoors, loves hunt and fish and spend time with his dad and his brother and guys like Adam and all the guys that are here with us.>
I’ve hunted with Bridger before when he was able to take this nice three by four when he was about 14. This year with the help of the Southern Utah Chapter of Safari Club International, Bridger was going to get a chance to hunt three species. It’s called the Pathfinder hunt.
<(Dave Card) What it is, is the state of Wyoming does a great job of issuing tags to kids that may have a life threatening disease like Bridger has and they put this hunt together where kids can get an antelope, a deer and an elk tag all in this same area.>
<(Dave) We came up on the elk hunt, hunted around for a couple of days, killed a really nice antelope buck, but were not able to put it together with the elk.>
With just a few days left in the hunt, Bridger needed some help and fast. Dave called me and I called my friends, fisheries biologists in the area, Ryan Mosley and Craig Amadio. We put together a plan and soon we were scouring the mountain looking for a bull and a buck for Bridger.
<(Dave Card) so many people in the outdoor world just over the years with Bridger have willing to drop everything, take days off work, guys that work on commission, guys that don't get paid for not being there. Will take time off and do stuff with him.>
<(Dave Card) can't thank them enough.>
<(Adam) what are we looking for? A big four? (bridger) a big four. (adam) or how big of bull? (bridger) big six point. Ok, we'll let's go look. >
The morning before Bridger arrived, Ryan and I scouted for elk and found some really nice bulls. But most of them were in an area, we just weren’t going to be able to get Bridger into.
<(Bridger) I've been growing my hunting beard for two months now. (laughs)>
The past couple of years have been tough on Bridger, he just can’t walk or hike like he used to. The good news, we still have a deer tag and right away Ryan has spotted a buck.
<(Adam) he's big enough Bridger, let's go. (bridger) Ok, let's go, let's go.>
<(Dave) get your orange, get your hat on.>
<(Adam) ok, so we found some deer down here and it looks like there is a pretty big buck so we are going to go see if we can get Bridger on him. We are going to get a closer look at him anyway.>
And wouldn’t you know it, there is already a guy stalking this buck and his does.
<(Adam) I don't think he's that great of a deer. I think we can find better. He looked better from afar.>
<(Adam) what's wrong with that deer? (bridger) it's too small. (adam) you've already shot a three by four? (bridger) yup.>
Little did we know that Bridger was about to be tested, in fact, all of us are about to go on a emotional roller coaster.
<(Bridger Card) I think it's awesome that all these guys would come together to help me hunt.>
Ashley Bonzer, you’ve seen him on the show, he’s a fishing guide on Flaming Gorge and can be found most days, chasing big fish and occasionally looking for deer near the reservoir.
<(Ash) see that weight, just a real light. (hit fish) Nice.>
Ashley knew Bridger had a tag and called to tell us about a group of bucks that were hanging out down by the reservoir. I had to run to Vernal for a prior engagement. So the guys loaded up Bridger and went in search of the bucks.
<(Dave) We found him a probably 800 to 900 yards when we first spotted him. He was with three other bucks that were all pretty good bucks.>
<(Dave) We got within about 300 yards with the truck and then were able to get out and hike up a hill and we were about 150-200 yards of him.>
<(?) Are you sure? What about the one on the very right then.>
<(Dave) just feeding, just pretty as can be and sun going down and we waited until the sun got below the mountains a little bit so we could see a little bit better.>
(clint) right in the middle. (craig) he’s the highest buck right in the middle.>
(Dave) Bridger touched off a shot and drilled him.
(Dave) and hit him too far back, we knew that, but we thought he actually, he actually fell right down and got back up kept going.>
(Dave) So we got after him, we chased him. Just followed his tracks, didn’t bleed very much followed his tracks until dark and then lost his tracks when it got dark.>
The next morning.
<(Adam) How was your sleep last night? (dave) I didn't sleep well at all. (laughs)>
(Adam) that’s a long night huh? (bridger) Yeah.>
We picked up the track of the buck and were discouraged as we found very little blood. All morning long and into the afternoon, we searched high and low for Bridger’s buck.
(Adam) it’s getting tougher and tougher, everybody is getting a little tired. Hopefully we find him soon, it’s not looking good.>
(Ryan Mosley) we knew we had a wounded animal and nobody gave up, it was disappointing, but nobody really gave up and people were glassing and hiking different draws you know where we thought he might end up.>
It’s now around noon and no one has seen hide or hair of this buck. We’ve lost his track. We needed some sign of hope, anything….and we got it!
(Craig Amadio, Wyo Game and Fish Fisheries Biologist) There is a big draw that we thought he came out of off the reservoir shoreline.>
(Craig Amadio) Tony and I just decided to head up higher and keep looking the direction we thought he would probably go.>
(Tony, Found Bridger’s Buck!) and i happened to look over on to some rocks, seemed to be a few magpies out there, a lot more than I figure would be. just decided to walk over there to these magpies because they flew down into a little draw and before I even got to the draw I seen him laying up there in some sagebrush.>
(Clint) awesome deal, we’ve been looking hard for him. A long ways from where we hit him, but we found him. See if we can get it done.>
The boys snuck Bridger to within 100 yards for one last shot.
(Adam off cam) come on Bridger make the shot.>
(Clint) Well hit him right in the butt, again, again.>
(Adam) you didn’t give up? Good job. (knuckles) (bridger) nope. (adam) Woo. (bridger) I knew I’d get him. (adam laughs) you did! I didn’t, I don’t know if anybody else did. (bridger) no, I had almost given up but got a great team. Got a great team.>
(Ryan) It worked out great, what a great end to a great story.>
(Ryan) and it just goes to show, if people just take a little extra effort to recover an animal that is wounded, this is the type of success you could have. I mean what a quality animal for young Bridger.>
Hey the guys over at Monarch Mountain are going to help you out I understand. They are going to mount this buck, put it on the wall, remember this for years to come. Remember this day right? (bridger) yeah and they also have my antelope. (adam) they are good friends of KSL Outdoors, want to thank them as well and anytime you have a buck and need some work done they do a great job there in South Jordan.