Pine River Army Veteran Harvests Elk

Minnesota Elk Breeders Association (MnEBA), November 27, 2013 – Dan Walberg, a disabled veteran of the United States Army from Pine River, Minnesota, recently experienced a day unlike any other as the recipient of the 7th Annual MnEBA Charitable Elk Hunt. The hunt took place on November 7, 2013 and was coordinated by MnEBA and generously sponsored by Tony’s Trophy Elk Hunt Ranch, Lake Superior Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI), Midwest Outdoors Unlimited, Black Velvet Elk Ranch, Mike Kettenacker and Splendor Ridge Elk Farm.

Dan Walberg served in the U.S. Army from 1965-1969. In those four short years, Dan served three tours overseas in Vietnam, Korea and Panama. He was wounded in Korea resulting in total hip disability. In Panama, Dan served as an instructor on escape and evasion. He has breathing difficulties to this day as a result of a faulty gas mask.

These hardships have not lessoned Dan’s willingness to continue serving his country. He is a lifetime member of the American Legion, VFW and DAV and has also served in the capacity of color guard for all three organizations for the past 13 years. He is a past Senior Vice for American Legion Post 49, Past Commander and now Senior Vice in DAV Post 22 and also Past Junior Vice and currently serves as Senior Vice for VFW Post 3839.

As Dan made the treck to Baudette and Tony’s Trophy Elk Hunt Ranch in the early morning hours of November 7th, excitement was building on what promised to be very special day. Later that morning, Dan, assisted by Ron Welle and Leroy Wiener from Midwest Outdoors Unlimited along with guide Tony Beckel, began their search for the elusive bull elk. Five hours later, after making nearly a full circle, they spotted the beautiful 7×7 bull along a ridge in the brush. They got into position and Dan took the animal in one shot. Guide Tony Beckel later explained, “My main man (Dan) made a pretty decent shot from about 75 yards. He got him down with one shot and just had to do one more final shot in the end.” Tony further echoed the sentiment of the whole group, “It was a pretty good day today. It didn’t rain on us, didn’t snow on us and the sun is shining.”

After taking a few pictures to remember the day by, Dan took a moment to thank all those who helped make this day a reality for him. “I want to thank Brian and Mike for donating this beautiful bull, SCI Lake Superior Chapter for food, lodging, my travel and processing of the meat, Tony here, Brenda and Lance Hartkopf for the antler mount and Ron Welle and Leroy Wiener for helping me get here today. Thank you very much.” Dan is known as a man of few words, but his broad smile said it all, this was a good day!

Tony summed up the feelings of all the donors to this adventure by saying, “I want to thank Dan for all his years of service. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be able to do the things like we’re doing right now. We had a pretty good hunt today!” Mike Kettenacker, President/CEO of Innovative Laboratory Systems based out of Rockford, MN,
wanted to get involved in a great project. He shared a similar sentiment, “I just want to give back to those who allow us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.”

MnEBA offers our heartfelt thanks, support and gratitude to Dan and to all United States military men and women for their service to our country.