We recently finished the 2017 Purple Heart Honor hunt with Support U. S. Armed Forces. This is the hunt that we look the most forward to each year. To be able to give these soldiers a moment of happiness is the absolute highlight of our year.
Hartwell Wright, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient hunted with Dan. We asked Dan to give us the rundown on his hunt and this is what he had to say. “ I had been scouting for the kind of deer we want these guys to kill for a couple weeks. I had found a huge eight point not far from the lodge that I thought would be a great buck for my hunter. I put out a few trail cameras to try and get a pattern on this buck and for six days I never saw him again. I spent every morning and every evening glassing trying to find this buck. The hunters arrived in camp and I was already making a plan for another buck. On the first morning I decided it would be worthwhile to drive to the area I had seen the buck and rattle. Within ten minutes I had rattled up a big buck that was way too young, another two year old eight point, and a third buck that was too small. There was no sign of the one I was after but I thought that I’d move down about a mile and try again. As I drove to where I wanted to rattle again I looked out across the pasture and noticed four doe in the fog. Looking through my binoculars I saw a buck behind them and within a second I knew it was the buck I wanted. Where had this guy been for the past six days; it didn’t matter, he was here now. I told Hartwell that we couldn’t do much moving around because the doe would spook and the buck would follow them. I arranged the shooting stick and Hartwell got his gun on them. The buck walking from left to right at 145 yards and I stopped him for the shot. Hartwell shot and through my binoculars the shot looked good. The buck ran a couple hundred yards and lay down. I figured it was over but he kept his head up. The buck jumped up and took off running and went another two hundred yards and stopped right on the brush edge. He lay down again and through my spotting scope I could see just the tips of his horns. I watched him for fifteen minutes and he never moved. It was then that I decided that we needed to move in cautiously and get another bullet into this buck. We snuck to within 90 yards of the buck and I stopped to get Hartwell back on the shooting sticks. I then told my hunter that I was going to make a noise and when the buck stood up to hit him again. I grunted, I howled, I yelled and nothing happened. I found a dead tree limb and started beating on a nearby tree. Finally after twenty minutes the old buck stood and Hartwell sealed the deal. As it turned out, his first shot had punched right through one lung, how that buck wasn’t dead is beyond me. I’ve seen hundreds of deer hit less hard and die much quicker.”
Hagen Watkins took Kyle a Purple Heart Recipient from the Afghanistan War. He found a good ten point toward the center of the ranch and got him. Dan took Andy, another Vietnam Purple Heart and with the help of Dustin Mueller found a great buck. It took some serious blood trail dog work to find the buck after a low shot but they got him.
Dustin guided Michael Waddell on a hunt and they killed a very nice buck as well. It was so nice of Michael to come down and join us on this special hunt. Michael Waddell is the real deal; he is a down to earth as they come and just a great guy. We are already looking forward to next year’s hunt with the veterans.