Blind Veteran Gets his Utah Elk
The Sovereign Sportsman and Camp Patriot, a non-profit organization, got together and helped a blind veteran shoot an elk, Matt Slaton, an Air Force EOD technician who was injured while deployed to Iraq. In this video, Micah Clark with Camp Patriot helps Matt hunt elk in Utah. Camp Patriot is an organization that creates an opportunity and a means to help benefit and rehabilitate severed disabled vets coming back to the United States.
The following is a description of this awesome video.
The place of the hunt is in Utah, which has some of the biggest elk in the world. This event will be joined by Micah Clark of Camp Patriot, Carl Taylor, a Marine sniper and the Sovereign Sportsman team.
Cross Canyon Arms of Argon, Utah built a custom 300 Wind Mag for this vet. CCA has over 30 years experience building some of the top rifles in the world.
In preparation there were dry walk-throughs of scenarios that the guys could encounter out on the hunt. Carl and the team helped Matt practice getting into quick position to engage an elk.
Carl, who has 25 years experiences as a Marine sniper and government contractor, assists with sighting in the rifle and serves as Matt’s navigator.
However, the team runs into technical problems trying to embed the camera in the rifle. The purpose of the camera is to serve as eyes that help the navigator guide Matt to the target. After four hours of searching in Salt Lake City, the team arrives with electronics to be embedded in the rifle. This camera can now be monitored to a laptop, how awesome is that!
Next day the team goes to work on getting the rifle ready for the hunt. Here are the objectives to carry out during the day:
- Objective 1 – chronographing the rifle, this means to find out how fast the rifle is pushing the bullet. Carl will lead this task by firing 10 shots and taking the muzzle velocity and ballistic coeffecient. This helps us dial in the scope from 100 yards to 1,000 yards. Sniping technology at its best my friends! So the result of Matt’s rifle is at 3000 ft/second.
- Objective 2 – Sighting in the rifle – what is interesting about this is that Carl is sighting in as you see through the camera, the process starts at 100 yds which progresses out to 1,000 yds.
Once all of this is calculated with the range and speed of the bullet, the rifle can easily dial in quickly to hit target.
Next, Matt works with Carl on dry firing the rifle while relying on Carl’s directions through audible, shortly after practice (30 minutes later). Matt is soon engaging live fire against a ram steel target at 600 yds with accuracy. Nice!
The rest of the day is spent on familiarizing the land, finding where the elks are and observing feeding patterns. They were unable to engage elks on this day, due to distance just out of the rifle maximum effective range.
The hunt continues on the next day starting at dusk to a vantage point in search of elk. There are some stragglers but most are too small. Every hunt has its challenges and this one just seems to be the case. Elk’s behavior and eating patterns are different, so makes it difficult to approach from a good position. There were elks everywhere, but most were out of range.
One huge groups of 80-90 elks was observed crossing the plain. These were out at 1000 to 1200 yds.
Final Day Hunting
Finally, it was the last day of the hunt, but no one likes this pressure. Things to overcome this day were the weather, geography, rut and the size of this hunting team (5-8 ?). Many tactics to employ under these conditions, and here was what Camp Pat/SS team worked on:
- Stalk & pop at an area where the team would be ahead of the elks.
- Second was to move towards the property line, as elks were observed jumping the fence to cross over into another territory.
As the day winds down, it became clear that the second option was the necessary plan to take. So the team headed near the property line to hunt from the ridge. Two hills came together to form a funnel at the bottom where the property line is located. The team took up position nearby, and finally lo and behold a 6×6 Bull Elk had just crossed into the team view at 250 yds. Yes, literally jumps onto the team property line and stands there motionless.
The Scramble to Get Optics & Laptop in Place for The Shoot!
While the elk stands there, the team madly scrambles to crack the laptops and Matt in place. The elk moves towards a tree, and quick thinking, one of team member bleeded a cal call which stopped the elk, still exposing 3/4 of the elk rear. Carl gave the green light to engage and with zero hesitation, Matt takes the shot. Bang!
The elk runs thirty yards, turns around, and falls dead.
The team inspects the prize with Matt coming in contact with the elk’s great rack that’s four feet off the ground. The experiences of not seeing but visualizing this just can’t be described. It’s a moment of joy and powerful experiences. Thank you Matt Slaton, Carl Taylor, Sovereign Sportsman and Micah Clark of Team Patriot for the share. Please share this with others, God Bless!
Written by Jon Hines