Dan Vandertie is a dairy farmer in Wisconsin. He’s also a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a hunter-based conservation organization that seeks to ensure the future of elk and advocates for ethical hunting. Vandertie stands as such an example.
Vandertie and his daughter both put in for Wisconsin’s first-ever managed elk hunt. The odds of being drawn for just one of four tags were astronomically high. How high? About one in 9,500. But someone had to be drawn. Why not him? That’s exactly what happened.
“Once I heard I won, I had to sit down,” Vandertie told the Journal Sentinel.
He made new friends as he scouted the Clam Lake area. Among them were loggers, bear hunters and locals who helped him get familiar with the area.
Vandertie passed on several bulls including a potential 300-yard shot with a difficult crosswind. The landowner lauded him for his ethics and said he could return and hunt there anytime.
After a number of attempts, Vandertie set up a ground blind in a clear-cut and a mature bull later stepped out. He waited until it turned broadside and then turned its head. He made two clean shots, both through the vital organ area, before the bull walked 40 yards before dropping to the ground.
“Never expected anything like this. Just unreal,” Vandertie told the Journal Sentinel. “I’ve made so many friends through this hunt. I’m almost sad it’s over. But I know how fortunate I was. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided funding and volunteer manpower toward the successful restoration of elk to their historic Wisconsin range in 1994 and several subsequent years.