Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your Hand is God’s Hand for that person.Proverbs 3:27 (MSG)
Putting the “U” in Hunt – Hunts for youth with life-threatening illnesses
The Muley Fanatic Foundation’s “Putting the ‘U’ in Hunt” program started 8 years ago and has sponsored over 74 youths including the 18 youths in 2020. This is something MFF continues to make a priority year after year. In partnership with the Wyoming Gamey & Fish Department, the Muley Fanatic Foundation receives Wyoming Complimentary Commissioner Licenses for youth with life-threatening illnesses.
Josh Coursey, president and CEO with the Muley Fanatic Foundation, said Putting the ‘U’ in Hunt also supplies assistive technologies to help kids with disabilities participate fully. The program relies on word of mouth to find applicants, in part because federal health laws on privacy make it difficult to reach kids dealing with illnesses.
“It’s a very unique opportunity, and we just like to continue to get the word out so that we can help bring it to fruition for those that might need it,” Coursey said. “It’s magical, not only for the child but for their parents and family.”
Since the program started eight years ago, it has helped kids from across the nation to experience Wyoming’s world-renowned hunting grounds. All expenses are covered for kids and their families, including air travel, meals and accommodations, meat processing and taxidermy.
With the combined efforts from the Wyoming Game Commission, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, MFF Headquarter staff, MFF Chapter volunteers, the Holy Pursuit’s Dream Foundation, Hunt for Hope, local outfitters, local residents, and local businesses, all hunts result in successfully making dreams come true.
Muley Fanatic Foundation hosted 18 youth hunts this year. The most ever!
Here are their stories.
What a way to kick off the first day of the 2020 hunting season! Seth Hearner from Burnsville, West Virginia harvested this great Wyoming bull elk in August! He was the first successful youth of 2020.
On the first day, they got into bull elk from the very first minute of legal shooting light and was running back and forth on different stalks looking for the big bull. One hour into the hunt they located and moved into position over looking a herd of bulls. Thanks to the antler decoration this big guy picked up, Seth could narrow his focus on him. Seth, who is recently recovering from his fight with Cancer was able to squeeze the trigger and fold up a stud velvet bull in his tracks. Elk down by 6:30 a.m., deboned and in the truck by 10:00 a.m.! Not something that happens very often. You can’t experience these adventures and not recognize a greater power that has the biggest influence. God is Good!
This hunt would not be possible if not for the great partnership with the Holy Pursuit’s Dream Foundation, the assistance of MFF 10 Country Chapter Member’s; Blake Fegler, Chance Marshall, and Kevin Marshall. Thank you all for allowing Seth be successful on his Wyoming elk hunt!
Goat down! A jam packed 2 days of hunting antelope! A great hunt with Holy Pursuit Dream Foundation and Muley Fanatic Foundation. Blake Fegler and the team sat in the blind for over 12 hours between two days and passed on a near 200 bucks. They had pronghorn as close as 7 yards from the blind.
A heavy curled buck came by and presented a 45 yard shot for Cameron. He was ready to notch his tag after watching so many antelope! We’re blessed to have another great hunt with great people. Cameron is a great kid and he’s welcome in the antelope blind any day with me!
The Lord blessed us again. It’s always amazing when you meet a new families and within a couple short days you become family. A huge thanks again to Blake, 10 Country Chapter of Muley Fanatic Foundation and Holy Pursuit’s Dream Foundation!
Emma Decker, a 16-year-old high school junior in Mountain View, Wyoming was able to do something she thought she may not ever be able to do again: hunt. Thanks to the Muley Fanatic Foundation’s “Putting the U in Hunt” program, Decker, a self-described hunter since the age of 4, scored a 356-inch bull elk.
Decker had been stuck in the hospital getting radiation treatments after brain surgery removed cancerous tumors. She said it was an amazing trip, in part because it gave her something positive to look forward to.
“I was kind of a little sad about having cancer,” Decker said. “But going on this trip, you’re able to get out of the hospital, and you’re able to think about other things than having your life-threatening diseases.”
Decker said her family should be set for the winter after her harvest, which has already produced a lot of hamburgers, tacos and jerky. She encourages young people who like to hunt and need a break from the hospital to sign up.
“It was really nice, because the people that took me there were super nice to me, and I was able to make some new friends,” she said. “I don’t like killing the animal, but I like having the meat. And getting the trophy animal is pretty cool too.”
Payton Miller from Las Vegas, Nevada was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma over a year ago. He is towards the end of his treatment and in maintenance. The Fall of 2020, he was blessed with a Wyoming elk hunt from Holy Pursuit’s Dream Foundation and the Muley Fanatic Foundation. When his family heard about this hunt they were very excited for Payton, especially after he had to give his Nevada elk hunt back last year due to his illness. This kid has been thru so much in the last year being diagnosed with Lymphoma, he defiantly deserved this opportunity.
They started the first day doing a lot of glassing and not coming up with any elk. Around 2:00 p.m. they finally spotted elk and it was game on. There were some opportunities, but never had the right shot. Finally, a bull bugle off to the west and everyone had to move fast. While Ted Sargent was getting Payton setup to shoot, Brian Smith let out a cow call and there the bull was peeking behind a cedar tree. The bull took off running and Brian gave another cow call to stop him about 250 yards. Payton took a deep breath and put one right in the boiler room, it was game over. Finally, it all came together and Payton was pretty stoked to have harvested his Wyoming bull elk.
Payton and his family would like to send a huge shout out to Red Desert Outfitters in Wyoming. Their hospitality and help with Payton’s hunt is truly appreciated. They all had a lot of fun hunting with the group. They have a top notch guide service. They are glad to find a hunting crew that joke’s around as much as the family. So thank-you….
Caleb Miller from Dover, Ohio arrived in Wyoming on October 2nd for his first ever elk hunt. The morning of October 3rd, Caleb was able to harvest his first bull elk.
The bull was spotted that first morning just before he laid down in the large Wyoming sagebrush. Kade Harmon, Red Desert Outfitters, placed the bull into his Vortex spotting scope as Jason Faigl adventured out to find the best location so Caleb could into position. As soon as Jason determined the location the stalk was on.
The location would get Caleb within comfortable shooting range of 200 yards or less, but was going to be a challenge for Caleb. He had to walk over 400 yards to be in that position, however, Caleb was willing to push himself to make it.
At the time of reaching the location, Caleb was witihin 178 yards of where the bull was bedded. After 33 minutes of cow calls failing to stand the bull up, Jason and Uncle Roman finally created a noise that disturbed the bull which pushed him to stand. After two shots making their marks, Caleb harvested a beautiful 6×6 bull elk! His patience of waiting for the bull to stand up from it’s bedding area was definitely a show of will to make his dream a reality.
Sixteen year-old, Daniel Bosch, from Plainwell, Michigan was able to obtain both a Wyoming Deer License and Wyoming Antelope License. Daniel accompanied by his Father and Grandfather, arrived into Wyoming on October 9th. Upon arriving in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Joey Faigl with MFF visited them at the hotel to discuss a good game plan for an attempt to harvest both animals in one day.
The following morning Daniel and a great team of volunteers set out to begin the hunt. Within the first 30 minutes of daylight, Daniel was on already setup on a great mule deer buck. Unfortunately, due to the conditions, he was unable to connect with the buck.
It wasn’t too long after (30 minutes), another buck was spotted and this had a better opportunity to get setup for a shot attempt. One shot and Daniel had harvested his first mule deer.
The hunt, however, was not over! Following the paparazzi of photos and the field dressing of the deer, it was off to find a great antelope buck. Within traveling only a distance of 4 miles from the location of his deer harvest, Daniel had 3 opportunities at some great bucks, but the setups just didn’t turnout.
Finally, only one hour after his last attempt, a great buck was spotted and he had a great setup situation for a shot! After a few minutes to get in position, the antelope stopped perfectly broadside at about 260 yards. One shot again and Daniel had harvested his first Wyoming antelope!
Wow what a day for this young man! Two tags, two species, and both harvested within 3 hours of the his first morning of the Wyoming hunt.
Jacob “Peanut” New
On a 2020 late season Wyoming Mule Deer Hunt. Jacob “Peanut” New from Saluda, South Carolina was able to travel to Wyoming and hunt with a once in a lifetime tag. Jacob was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was only 7 years old. In the last 3.5 years of radiation he is now currently cancer free!
They put in 4 full days grinding it out trying to find the right deer. Peanut was a champ, passing countless deer including multiple bucks in the 170s.
While Peanut was with Mark on day 3, after hunting with Blake Fegler on day 1 and Rowdy Anderson on day 2, Rowdy and Blake teamed up late that evening to hike into a big hole with high hopes of turning up a big deer that they could come back and kill on day 4. Soon enough they found the deer. Blake filmed him for 10 minutes in freezing temps and 40 mph winds. The next morning Rowdy and Blake again hiked in this hole to relocate the buck. It took about an hour due to the poor visibility with blowing snow but they found him. Rowdy heads back down the hill to get the rest of the crew while Blake keeps an eye on the deer.
After this, there was multiple things that could have gone wrong, weather, blown stalk, other hunters, all could have resulted in an unsuccessful harvest, however everything seemed to fall together. You couldn’t have wrote a better script. “It was simply a gift from God,” said Blake, “it was incredible to watch this unfold.” This buck stepped out of the aspens after being bedded down out of the wind. He was following his hot Doe until Peanut ended the trip with a perfect heart shot at 204 yards in crazy high wind speeds. Blake said he had never felt Gods presence so strong on a hunt before. Everyone involved gave maximum effort and it paid off with a huge framed heavy old deer. Peanut experienced the whole adventure; hiking in, stalking in deep snow, shooting up hill and packing out a big deer back to the truck. Peanut beat cancer and worked his tail off on a grueling hunt and he deserves every bit of this adventure. “It’s always fun to hunt with guys who are willing to put in the work and kill big deer,” Blake said.
This hunt wouldn’t have been possible without Blake, Rowdy, Mark and the rest of the crew. Here’s to a 185” deer on the last day, public land, over 9,000 feet in elevation during a November blizzard.
The following hunts are associated with the
MFF Southeast Wyoming Chapter Team.
Daniel was blessed with this awesome antelope in Wyoming. So thankful for all of the people at Carrico Safaris for allowing these hunts with them and for blessing Daniel with this amazing opportunity. God is good and everyone is so thankful for all who support these hunts and help make these trips possible!
Blake is from Alvaton, Kentucky had a succussful mule deer hunt on Doug Samuelson’s Ranch (Warren Land & Livestock) near Cheyenne, Wyoming. Awesome buck! Thank you to everyone involved with Blake’s hunt.
Jaden was able to hunt mule deer on the Currier Ranch near Chugwater, Wyoming. Jaden is one of the few Wyoming residents that obtained a license this year. Jaden is from Cheyenne. Great job team!
Another youth with a successful mule deer hunt on the Currier Ranch. Izaac lives in Toar, Texas and harvested his first mule deer buck. Congratulations Izaac!
Thanks to the team with Carrico Safaris near Rawlins, Wyoming to help make this was another successful mule deer hunt. Endsley from Morgantown, West Virginia, harvested this great buck. Congratulations!
Mule deer hunt number two with Carrico Safaris. Blake harvested this nice mule deer buck near Rawlins, Wyoming. He is from Percy, Illinois.
Carrico Safaris knows how to get it done! Morgan had mule deer hunt number three with the team. This is a great buck Morgan. You will be talking about this hunt back in your home at Uvalda, Georgia for many years.Thank you to the team from Carrico Safaris for always making these hunts a succes!
Panthfinder Ranches near Casper, Wyoming has been a huge part of the successful youth hunts the last few years. A full team from the Southeast Wyoming Chapter and the crew with Pathfinder takes a handful of kids on the property for high quality antelope hunting. This year was no different, as Watson was successful on his hunt. Watson traveled from his hometown of Aubry, Texas to be on his hunt.
Second antelope hunt on Pathfinder Ranches included Parker Reynolds. Parker from Wales, Utah was all smiles with his awesome buck! Here he is with his dad on the right and Matt Hoobler with Pathfinder Ranches on the left.
Kaige Lee Sirmon
Finally, the third antelope taken on Pathfinder Ranches was by Kaige from Frisco City, Alabama. Kaige was very impressed with the beauty of antelope. He would like to thank everyone that was part of his hunt and the Pathfinder Ranches allowing him to make his dream come true.
The only elk hunt the Southeast Wyoming Chapter Team was a part of this year and it was no different from the other hunts. Trapper was successful in harvesting his Wyoming elk. Trapper Samples is from Ellamore, West Virginia.
The team at Muley Fanatic Foundation can’t thank everyone enough that volunteers and helps with these hunts. These kids have the opportunity to get away from the troubles they face every day and gain memories with their families.
No words can be expressed. THANK YOU.
To learn more about this program visit the “Hunts for Youth with Life-threatening Ilnesses” page by clicking here.