Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Big elk hunt fulfills dream for sportsmen.(Outdoors & Recreation)

Byline: Bill Dyroff For the Journal

* Paralyzed Veterans of America organizes trip to northeast New Mexico's famed Vermejo Park Ranch

Bob Werden of Rio Rancho started planning for his first big game hunt in 1962. Never mind that just two years earlier he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Nearly 40 years later, paralyzed and moving about via a wheelchair, Werden fulfilled his dream. In mid-January, he joined two other paralyzed outdoorsmen in what can rightfully be described as the hunt of a lifetime accommodations at the National Rifle Association's Whittington Center southwest of Raton and an elk hunt at the famed Vermejo Park Ranch.

The hunt was conceived by retired U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Lewis Deal, director of outdoor sports development for Paralyzed Veterans of America, headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was made possible by the generous support of Whittington Center and Vermejo Park, and financial sponsorship from Rigby Gun Co. of Paso Robles, Calif., manufacturer of custom rifles and shotguns.

The hunt, for cow elk, was scheduled to be a three-day affair starting Jan. 20; but each of the three PVA hunters bagged his elk the first morning. …

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