November 13-17, 2020
Location: NRA Whittington Center- Raton, New Mexico
Sponsored by: NRA Whittington Center, GunWerks and SCI
This was an amazing opportunity to send one Veteran and their family on a Trophy Elk Hunt at the acclaimed NRA Whittington Center in New Mexico. This was a group endeavor between these groups: NRA Whittington Center who donated the tag/hunt to Gunwerks, who then reached out to Safari Club International (SCI), who then reached out to Denver Chapter of Safari Club International Humanitarian Outreach Program (SCIHOP), and River Deep Foundation to select the Veteran to go on this hunt. NRA Whittington Center provided the guide, the tag and the incredible place to hunt. Gunwerks supplied the rifle, ammunition and a firearms instructor, and SCI paid for all of the lodging, processing, mounting expenses. SCIHOP and River Deep Foundation decided which Veteran to send. After days of deliberation, they decided to send Chuck Williamson and his spouse Susan. Chuck and Susan started as clients in 2013 and participated in several events over a couple of years. Then in 2017, they began volunteering to “pay it forward” because they realized how these outings change and save lives. River Deep decided that this was a great way to say thank you for all the time and effort they generously give toward our mission. The group consisted of Eric Whaley, the guide; Ian Minor, the Gunwerks instructor; Dan Brooks from SCI; Jeff Parker, the videographer; Chuck and Susan Williamson and Chuck’s service dog, Token. They were all treated to beautiful accommodations with breathtaking views, wonderful meals and first class hospitality.
The first day was spent getting to know each other and sighting in the rifle on the Cooper Shooting Range. The following day, they hunted for almost 12 hours. Because of the intense winds, however, the day was blown. On the third day, SUCCESS!!! Chuck, who had never truly hunted before, harvested his first bull elk—an impressive 6 by 6 with a 540 yard shot! No meat was left behind because Chuck insisted that all the meat had to be taken to share with some fellow Veterans. After the successful hunt, the amazing guide, Eric, took the crew on a sight-seeing adventure around the property. They first went to the ghost town of the Van Houten Mine and learned about the rich history of this area. Eric then gave them a special treat and took them to one of the highest spots on the property where they were enamored by the phenomenal panoramic views!
Not only was it a successful hunt and incredible vacation, true friendships were formed. Chuck and Susan are incredibly grateful and feel very blessed for being giving this incredible opportunity and adventure.
River Deep Foundation
River Deep Foundation, President
SCI HOP - VP of Humanitarian Outreach