Archive for October, 2012

OO Hunt Of A Lifetime

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

The term Hunt Of A Lifetime will have two meanings in this blog. Team OO member Jim Brennan had the opportunity to guide a young man this month on his very first Western hunt and they would be chasing bull elk in Colorado. The young man’s name is Luke Savage and he is not your ordinary 16 year old. He has faced many challenges over the last few years fighting a severe illness, Leukemia. He was chosen by the great organization “Hunt Of A Lifetime” to go on a hunt in New Zealand last year but was too sick to travel. On this hunt there were going to be some obstacles to conquer as Luke lives in Minnesota at close to sea level and the elk we would be chasing were living at close to 9000 feet. I thought fatigue was going to play a major role but I soon learned the mental strength of this young man.

Upon arriving to the high country we had to go to the range and make sure that both Luke and his weapon were ready for the week ahead. He has not had a lot of experience shooting a rifle especially at distances of over 200 yards so it was going to be some work getting him close to a good bull. Luke practiced shooting off the bench, with shooting sticks on the ground as well as off of a back pack. I wanted to make sure that we had all the possible options covered and that he was familiar with these positions.

The first day out we saw a good number of elk and some really good bulls. The rut was still going strong and to see the look on his face the first time he heard an elk bugle was worth the long drive from Montana to the ranch. After several close calls and near chances throughout the day we headed back to the house without punching his tag. Luke was all smiles that night and told his father and uncle some great stories as they were in camp with us as well.

Day two Luke was up before the alarm and ready to go. We went to a different part of the ranch and I told him that it was going to be a pretty good hike to the area that I wanted to go to. Without hesitation, he said no problem and we covered several miles that morning. Again we were close to several bulls and chased bugles in the timber but never did get close enough for a shot. Several times I checked to make sure Luke was still able to hike and he never had a problem. Coming from a low elevation did not effect him after all he has been fighting for his life the past two years. I was truly inspired by his grit for such a young man.

The third morning of the hunt we once again went to a new spot and by first light we had several bulls bugling. We had to get the wind right and needed to cover some ground quickly. The elk were on the move heading to their bedding area and I thought if we could get to some oak brush and got settled in that Luke should have a shot under 200 yards. The herd was large and there were numerous bulls crossing in front of us as well as some cows. I looked back a few hundred yards and spotted a really nice five point bull. He was mature and tall with some nice ivory tips. I showed Luke where he was at and asked if he wanted to take this great animal. His smile and shaking hands told me all I needed to know. He was set up on the shooting sticks in a sitting position and was rock solid. The elk filed through the opening and the bull followed suit. Once he was clear of any brush I hit the cow call and stopped him broad side and he looked our way. A few seconds later the gun went off and I could see the hit through my bino’s.

Luke had his dream hunt complete and a good Colorado bull down. After a few minutes his dad and uncle arrived and shared in the recovery of his great trophy. A bunch of pictures were taken and the story was told over and over again by both hunter and guide. My season and year were made by this young man and I feel honored to spend a few days with him.

Please check out the web site and see what this great organization does to help sick kids live their dream. I look forward to taking more young adults like Luke out in the field and I realized that any problems I may have are small in comparison to theirs.