Ok, let’s go.
So we are at Coyote Little Pole, CWMU. It’s northeast of Heber and we are doing a, it’s not an injured vet, but it’s a vet program where we take five vets cow elk hunting.
Good luck Huh. Thanks. Heads up Bryan.
Welcome to KSL Outdoors. You know it was last year when we introduced you to the Freedom Hunt. A cow elk hunt designed to get veterans into the outdoors. And this year they welcome five new veterans on the hunt.
All five are new hunters. One is from Oklahoma, and the other four are from Utah.
Why did you bring these guys back? Because everything they do for us. I mean I can’t do what I do, if they don’t do what they do. So. It’s just my way of giving back and getting them into a place we all love. It gives them a whole new thing, a new outlet, everything.
This is a collaborative effort between Rowdy Bird Dog Outfitters that supplies the tags and guides, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation that supplies the lodging, the guns and volunteers and a national organization called the F.E.W. that supplied the warriors.
The foundation for exceptional warriors is a group that was formed because we realized a lot of the after communities that do things for veterans were missing the valorous and they were missing the special operations community. The FEW realized that those people had been the tip of the spear so we were founded to make sure that we could include those warriors in opportunities that other wounded veterans have.
When a warrior gets wounded or a warrior serves and maybe he struggles. That’s a fork in the road and if we can put them back in the field with the same guys they were in the field with before with a rifle in their hands, doing something outdoorsy, it lets them move forward on their own terms from that. It takes them back to that fork in the road and it’s very therapeutic, it’s very cathartic for them and it lets them set the tone on how they are going to move forward.
It’s one of those deals where you wrestle with it because you can think of somebody that deserves it more. So it’s actually very humbling. So I wouldn’t say, I would never say I deserve it, but we all were naming brothers that would enjoy this. We are thankful. When they gave us the rifles and the scopes, everything in the bags, it was really overwhelming. It was hard, just kind of hard to put into words. Have you ever hunted elk before? No, no, from Texas, whitetail, hogs on the river, but not elk man. It’s a whole other world out here and getting to see them and even seeing the muley’s out here, it’s a different world. It’s incredible.
What happens is these warriors they become insulated from society and isolated sometimes.
Now we could put one guy in there. And then they get out here on an event and have somebody like George.
Who never served, but he’s spending his entire weekend away from his family to give them a once in a lifetime elk hunt. That kind of sets the tone on how they are going to interact with society as they move back.
It makes their sacrifice make sense.
He’s not a bad buck. What is he? A buck. Big one? Yea.
The warm weather we had in November, has kept many of the elk up high, mostly off the property. We are seeing some animals, just not the right ones.
We’ve seen a lot of bulls. Just waiting for a cow. We’ve got a couple of cows up top, so we’ll get them moving and see if we can’t get them done.
These guys are giving us our freedoms and a lot of these guys they go away as boys and they come back as men. You see the challenges and hear the stories they bring up and it kind of blows your mind.
So if we can give back a little bit. That’s what we want to do.
Well the morning hunt is done and just like when you are out hunting deer sometimes and all you see is elk. All we saw today was big bulls. The guys look like they are loaded up, ready for the afternoon hunt.
They are going to come off this ridge, right down this finger right here. If they go high, they’ll stay up there and we’ll fly around. Ok. Alright. Grab a seat get comfortable.
We decided to make this a re-unite event where we had three marines that all served together, multiple tours, come back together for this event.
We all served together in Iraq. We were with the 81 platoon weapons company 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines out of 29 Palms.
Derek Lucero, Josh Longoria, and Brent Montgomery were brothers in arms for four years during the Iraq war. They haven’t seen each other in over ten years. This Freedom Hunt gave them a chance to rekindle their relationship and remember a day in April, 2004 that changes their lives forever.
What happened April 17th? Worst thing you’ve ever imagined. We lost several guys out of our unit and along with a beloved company commander of ours.
We got ambushed out in a town called Teusaba in Western Iraq.
Basically just war. What you see on tv is what that day was, 20 some odd hours.
Montgomery took one in the leg that day. Yea, I took one through the upper thigh.
So this is kind of a reunion. This is. Oh yea, big time.
To get face to face and hang out. You know it’s a different kind of therapy. You are reminded of what you went through. You are reminded it was worth it and sometimes it is hard because you are reminded of the guys that didn’t come home. At one time it is difficult but at the same time it really is a blessing. Yea, you count yourself lucky that you were able to make it home, but at the same time you feel a guilt because you did and they didn’t. But all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and live day to day, for them. Make them proud of the man you’ve become.
It’s things like this that truly engage veterans, in activities that they’ve lost. You know they’ve lost that sense of belonging, that sense of purpose, that sense of mission and events like this help give them back that purpose.
There is just so many people to thank. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is one of them. Foundation for Exceptional Warriors it couldn’t happen without them, Labs for Liberty. Just all these guys who volunteer their time to make this event happen, year after year. It’s truly a blessing to the veteran community.
Three bulls, four.
The hunt so far has been pretty tough for these veterans. We’re seeing a few elk, But, they’re still are all bulls. Then towards the evening we were in the right place at the right time.
Wasn’t seeing any cows anywhere, anything but a cow. Then this evening we rolled down to that point and set there kind of glassing. Here comes four right up the hillside.
Right in the bottom! Right in the bottom.
Who’s got a cow call? I’ve got one.
Alright I’m going to give you a yardage. 356 George. Stop them.
Right at the top of the….hit one. That one is hit right? You hit it. Yea he got the front one.
Derek, the second on in, put it right on her.
He’s shooting at the back one. The back ones are 389. Ok, hand me that gun.
388 boys the bottom one. 388. You’ve got to put it on the top of her shoulder.
Did I get her? Nope, reload. Open that. Like that. Spread those legs out for him. I’m going to show you what you did ok. Ok. Hey George spread those legs out for him. Get him stable. Yea, I’m going to kick these out. What you did is try to see the bullet hit. I want you to leave your face on the scope.
Put it right on her neck and squeeze.
Boom, Got her.
She’s down, she’s done, done, done, Ok, nice shot. That was a good that last one.
Nice shooting brother.
In just five minutes all three friends have an elk down. Thanks in part to a group of sportsmen and women who will never forget their sacrifice.
What did you think of that? Oh amazing, incredible, awesome. Yea 418, that’s not bad. Yea we got them, got a little souvenir. Yea and some meat to take home.
Just the number of complete strangers that come together to make something like this happen for other complete strangers, just off of deeds that they done, a decade ago. It’s a pretty humbling.
There is nothing I’ve done in over 30 years of wildlife service and over 25 years as a staff member of the elk foundation that has been more fulfilling, to me personally as watching these great vets have success in the field and to make new lifelong friends.
Good job buddy. Awesome. Longoria. Awesome job buddy.
I think it’s great. Just happy for the opportunity. Neat people. Yea it is. I haven’t seen these guys in ten years and we get to come out and kill three cow elk all at the same time. That’s pretty awesome. All together huh? All together. And they fell within literally 50 feet of each other.
These men and women who serve are the cream of the crop and the elk foundation is just lucky to be a part of this. It’s an amazing experience and we are going to continue to do it every year.
You haven’t seen nothing yet until you drag this elk up this mountain huh Adam?
What do you get when you put Marines in the field with guns. Three dead elk. That’s right, you kill stuff. That’s awesome, three buddies, three nice elk and I heard you sucking a little wind. Little wind. This high elevation. I’m from Oklahoma. Yea, it is. Hey congratulations. Going to eat really well. This is a hell of a ten year reunion for us. I’ll say huh? What a reunion. I didn’t know elk was the ten year gift, but apparently it is. That’s awesome.