For many hunters, the once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt a Big Horn Sheep passes them by year after year.  For Chuck Tholl of Casper, his dream came through during the 2010 hunting season. Chuck had prayed every year for a sheep tag, but for 4 years prior to his 2010 draw, he had almost hoped he wouldn't draw.  Chuck's youngest son, Chad was in the Marine Corps serving our country in Iraq.  In 2010, to Chuck's surprise, two of his wishes came true.  He drew a sheep tag and his son returned home safely from his tour of duty in Iraq.

By the time hunting season rolled around, Chad had been discharged.  Chad's new job would not allow him to take time off of work, so he decided to quit his job in order to share this once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt with his dad, Chuck.

Chuck has had asthma since childhood and to complicate matters even more, Chuck had recently been diagnosed with a chronic lung dysfunction that was going to make the hunt even more difficult than the usual sheep hunt.    Chuck was only able to spend a few hours at the higher elevations before needing to come back down.  Chuck, along with Chad, and his other sons Chris & Cory hunted weekends for a solid month without seeing a ram.

When October rolled around, Chuck decided to hire an outfitter, Fritz Meyer along with his guides Cody Brown and Jarod White.  They understood the health challenges that Chuck was facing, but the didn't seem to mind at all.

On the first day of Chuck's hunt, Cody spotted a huge ram that took almost all day to get to.  Chuck was finally able to take a shot at the ram, shooting just over his back, he was just sick over it.  They hunted the next couple of days, saw a few smaller rams, but nothing worth shooting.

On the fourth day of Chuck's hunt, Cody spotted eleven rams in one bunch.  It was too late to make a move, so they headed down the mountain thinking about what the next morning would have in store for them.

The next morning brought snow, wind and terrible weather.  Cody spotted the rams around 9am, right where they had seen them the night before.  They saddled up,and headed toward the last place they had seen the sheep.  After a three-and-a-half hour horseback ride and 300 yard stalk, they were right where they needed to be.  As fate would have it, the sun popped out and the clouds lifted for just a minute.  Cody ranged the rams and Chuck took aim, taking one last gasp of air & squeezing the trigger.  In that instant, Chuck knew that his dream for him & his son had been fulfilled.  When you look at the photo with the view from the plane, there is a black piece on the wing brace. Right next to it on the mountain behind is where Chad and Chuck got the sheep.

Chuck & Chad sat on the mountain taking it all it all in, knowing they may never return to that place again.  Just before the horseback ride back down the mountain, Chad shared a dream that he had while serving in Iraq.  Chad had a dream that he and his dad had been sheep hunting together.  This brought tears to both their eyes, they hugged and at that moment knew this was now a memory they had created to last a lifetime.

Chuck now remembers this as the most rewarding thing he has ever achieved.  Chuck's word's of advice to anyone with a physical disability..."try to keep the dream alive.  I know it's not possible for everyone, but if there's a chance, take it!"

Chuck wishes everyone the opportunity to do something special like this sheep hunt was for him and his son Chad.

Please remember our men and women in the armed forces around the world and the sacrifices the make for us on a daily basis so that we can enjoy our freedom.

 

[ Eastman's Hunting Journal's]