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Veteran accomplishes a big dream

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In his youth, Dan Walberg spent more than a few fruitless days on the hunt for elk in Colorado, but November he finally got the chance to fulfill his dream of getting an elk.

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Thanks to an annual charitable hunt sponsored by the Minnesota Elk Breeders Association, Walberg shot a 825 monster with 7 points on each antler on Nov. 7 2013.

“I think they said it was a seven by seven and 825 pounds,” Walberg said. “It was a big animal.”

This time, Walberg’s hunt was closer than ever in Baudette, MN at Tony’s Trophy Elk Hunt Ranch.

Walberg was given the honor to hunt this monster bull elk due to a very special charity for Disabled American Veterans. Walberg, a veteran of three tours in Vietname, Korea, and panama from 1965-1969, qualified for the event due to a wounded hip from Korea. He also has breathing difficulties due to a faulty gas mask.

Walberg, a lifetime member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans, was encouraged to apply to the event by Legion and VFW Chaplain Mike Marcum.

“At some of our past association meetings they seemed to be kind of struggling to find applicants enough for this hunt. I was pretty sure there were some disabled veterans in our area so we got a hold of a friend of mine, mike Marcum who is a chaplain of the legion and vfw as well, and so he said he was sure there were some guys who would qualify as candidates,” said 20 year MNEBA member Jerry Campbell.

Campbell has not met Walberg, but said he would like to.

In the beginning Walberg didn’t know if he had a chance at winning. He said he isn’t very lucky, but he changed his tune when he was selected, and changed it even more when he got his elk.

“(I was) very lucky,” he said.

Walberg took his kill shot calmly from about 75 yards. The hunt started in the early morning and lasted approximately 7 hours, though transporting the big animal was almost as big a chore as hunting it.

“It was wonderful. It was like a dream that you always think you are going to do but you never accomplish it,” Walberg said.

The elk was processed, and the meat was given to Walberg who shared it.

“They processed the meat for me and I ate some. I’ve given some to some of the veterans around Pequot Lakes...” Walberg said. “It’s wonderful, very tasty.”

Walberg is very thankful to the people that helped him including the guide who took care of getting a mount from the animal. Overall, he said he would not be possible without them.

“It’s a very wonderful organization it gives people help. I can’t get out and do the things I did when I was a young man,” Walberg said. “I want to thank the people that were involved with it and tell everybody, don’t give up the dream. If you get a chance, go for it.”

This was the seventh annual Minnesota Elk Breeders Association charitable elk hunt. It was sponsored by Tony’s Trophy Elk Hunt Ranch, Lake Superior Chapter of Safari Club International, Midwest Outdoors Unlimited, Black Velvet Elk Ranch, Mike Kettenacker and Splendor Ridge Elk Farm.

Travis Grimler can be reached at Travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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