On October 11, 2010 Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Paul Fritzsche realized a dream, to take a trophy bull elk. It took place on the Royal Rut Ranch in central Utah. . Royal Rut Ranch is a beautiful mountainous property with steep, heavily timbered Canyons and open ridge tops located in Indian Canyon northeast of Price, Utah.
Paul Fritzsche served on active duty with the US Army 275 2nd Ranger Battalion out of Ft. Lewis, Washington, from January 2004 to January 2008. This included two deployments to Bagram, Afghanistan and one to Ramadi, Iraq. Serving his country, Paul was injured in Afghanistan by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) which resulted in traumatic head and brain injuries.
The hunt started months earlier at the SCI Utah Chapter 2010 Banquet on April 10, with two very generous Chapter members. Kip Slaugh purchased an elk hunt donated by Kelly Hymas of Royal Rut Ranch and donated the hunt back to the Utah Chapter for the Utah Wounded Warrior program and efforts. Dave McDonald then purchased a shoulder mount taxidermy donation from Sam Raby of Animals in Motion Taxidermy and, also donated it to the Chapter for the Wounded Warrior program.
The Utah Chapter board members worked with the Salt Lake V.A. hospital to find a good candidate for the hunt, which eventually led us to Paul Fritzsche. Paul was accompanied by his nine year old son, Jayden and SCI Utah Chapter Board members Don Isgar and Jack Sheffey. The four departed early morning, for the two hour drive from Salt Lake City to the ranch. After orientation and rifle sighting they fired up the ATVs and started out for their hunt. Things happened very quickly and it was not long before they started seeing Elk. Only a quarter mile from camp, they stopped to glass a small canyon. After ten minutes a nice bull was spotted by their guide, James. The bull stood up on the opposite slope and after careful evaluation James and Paul decided this would be Paulís bull. Paulís aim was true and at 185 yards the bull went down immediately with one shot. Everyone was delighted, especially Paul since his dream Elk Hunt had come to a wonderful closure and experience.
This Humanitarian Project resulted in hundreds of pounds of prime elk meat that will be processed and donated to a qualified organization in efforts to feed the homeless.
Many THANKS to Paul for participating and to Kelly Hymas, Sam Raby, Kip Slaugh, and Dave McDonald for making this hunt possible, and a memorable success!