Bear Hunting with Raymondo

Look at the smile on Raymondo’s face! Please read his testimonial below. This is the reason that our foundation exists. Our single biggest expense is airfare getting these incredible Vets to their destinations. Please keep our foundation in mind for your 2018 giving plans. Our goal is to provide many more trips like this for our nation’s combat-wounded Veterans.

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In May of 2017 I spent Memorial Day weekend with Veterans from multiple conflicts and many with Purple Hearts. It was therapeutic spending time with brothers who have spilled their blood in combat defending America. As soon as we met each other there was an immediate bond that I knew would last a lifetime. Lowell, Idaho is one of the most peaceful places in the United States that I have been to and it’s a place that I will never forget. The only game that I’ve really hunted was Whitetail deer so when a fellow Purple Heart recipient extended the invitation to hunt a Black Bear I was ecstatic.

I never thought I would have the opportunity to hunt such a majestic animal in a small town with a population of 27. I spent 11.5 hours in the tree stand and it was the most therapeutic time I’ve ever spent. No cell phone, no internet, no radio, just me and nature. It was hot, it was then windy, then it was cold, then a little bit of ice came down and then a 253lb. black bear came down the trail. I can’t explain the emotions, that I felt when he was swaying side to side, one paw after another and his nose up and down. It was 3:30 p.m. and I had spent 8 hours in the tree stand, but I couldn’t get a shot so I had to let him go. I knew it was the ethical and right thing to do. At 7 p.m. I hear some rustling to my left and there was a mama bear with two cubs walking down to the barrel of bread. She stopped and I wondered why, then I heard him. That same 253 lb. male bear had walked around the tree stand, stalked behind me and was defending the food barrel. He roared at her so she and the cubs ran away. It was then that I turned the 7mm, leaned it against the pine tree, took my breath and fired. He immediately rolled and I remember telling myself, “Wow! A Black Bear! Thank you God for giving me the patience and discipline to be here for 11.5 hours!” The new few days were spent making lifelong friends and just enjoying what we all fought for; the beautiful and peaceful woods of Idaho. Thanks MarkDaniel and Rick for the awesome experience of a lifetime!

~Raymondo Soto

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