18-year-old catches 550 lb elk during his first hunt

Dylan Murray after an early morning hunt
Dylan Murray after an early morning hunt

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) – Twenty-one East Texans with disabilities got a chance to go hunting, some for the very first time.

The second annual Pineywoods National Wild Turkey Federation's Wheelin' Sportsman Deer Hunt gives these hunters a chance to overcome challenges, and gain confidence.

"A whole heard of cow elk came out and then the bull came out and I knew which one I was going for," said 18-year-old Dylan Murray, hunting for his first time with a 550 pound elk to show for it.

"I'm really proud because it was so big and since it was my first time, it's exciting," said Dylan, who was a little nervous going into it. The idea hunting is a possibility, is still brand new.

"I didn't think that being in a wheelchair I'd be able to go hunting. It's just not something I really think about."

Dylan was born with Spina bifida and has been in a wheel chair his whole life. He's never walked but now Dylan is realizing the endless list of possibilities.

"Now I can go hunting without worrying about anything," he said. "It gives me a lot of confidence. It offers hope that somebody out there cares and will do whatever they can do to help you get over obstacles like this."

Dana Murray is Dylan's proud father, who can't wait to share more experiences like this one with his son.

"Words can't describe it. It's just an awesome, an awesome feeling."

More than 100 volunteers were there to guide the hunters, and provide in-depth safety training.

So Dana wasn't worried.

"We had simulated shooting from his chair and we didn't feel like there was a problem at all," he said.

The only problem, if Dylan will have room to mount his prize.

"His mom's going to have to make room," laughed Dana.

The Pineywoods National Wild Turkey Federation teamed up with the U.S. Forest Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Winston Land, and others to put together the two day outreach program.

More than 75-hundred acres of land in Nacogdoches County was volunteered for the event, and donations allowed the participants to hunt for free.

Organizers plan to continue this tradition every year.

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