Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Zach Spadt
Staff Writer 

The 'hunt of a lifetime'

With the help of Wyoming Disabled Hunters, elk hunters go five-for-five near Ten Sleep


November 28, 2015

COURTESY/Wyoming Disabled Hunters

Tristan Mack poses with his bull elk that he bagged near Ten Sleep in October. Mack's successful hunt was made possible largely due to the help of Wyoming Disabled Hunters, a Cody-based non-profit which works to enable hunters.

WORLAND - It was an opportunity they wouldn't have had without the help of a local non-profit and the help of a generous landowner.

That's according to a group of hunters who successfully bagged their elk near Ten Sleep last month. Their experience was unique because they all suffer from some sort of physical disability, which is where Wyoming Disabled Hunters of Cody steps in.

The non-profit, founded in 2008, began assisting hunters who would otherwise have a more difficult time bagging their trophy. The organization has sponsored hunts in areas throughout Wyoming. Because of a generous offer from the Brubaker Ranch near Ten Sleep, WDH was able to add another area.

The Ten Sleep Hunt occurred during the final week of October.

With the help of WDH, five disabled hunters were able to bag their elk near Ten Sleep this year - Zac Gilbert, Eric Holderman, Chris Santisteven, Tristan Mack and Bo Rechenbach all successfully bagged their elk.

WDH Secretary Pat Winlow said the Ten Sleep hunt is in its first year, but hopes to see many more successful hunts.

Mack called the experience "the hunt of a lifetime," and said he definitely intends to bag another elk.

Mack said he suffers from a spinal condition that prohibits him from staying on his feet for more than a short period of time. WDH's help, Mack said, made what otherwise would have been a very-restrictive hunt possible.

"It was a whole new experience," Mack, who initially heard about Wyoming Disabled Hunters in 2008, said.

Gilbert agreed that the hunt was an unforgettable experience, having bagged a spike elk.

"There were elk everywhere. It was amazing," Gilbert said.

WDH provides hunters with a companion hunter, a blind to camouflage themselves, along with food and lodging. Gilbert said the organization paid for his hotel room.

Winlow said that the pilot project was made possible by the help of people who knew the land and the elk.

"Mike Peterson has been our contact person for the Brubaker Ranch. He knows the elk and their habits, and guided us accordingly. Phillip Mullis kept the elk under surveillance for us so we would be aware of their movements. Mike also picked up the elk with his truck and round bale holder which saved us the back-breaking work of carrying the elk," Winlow said.

Gilbert was also grateful to have access to the private land.

"It's impossible anymore to find private land that's not leased out to somebody or something. Having to have the place to go was a big help. It really made it possible for me to do something like that, with all the resources they had. They were able to get the hunters to the blinds with their wheelchairs and everything. Just having the resources and the people to help was amazing," Gilbert said.

WDH also helped provide the processing of the elk meat.

When asked if he would like to repeat the experience, Gilbert did not hesitate to answer:

"I would love to - I would definitely love to. It was a pretty amazing trip."


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