Ft. Hood Soldier's Dream to Come True, Elk Hunters Vow

Ft. Hood Soldier's Dream to Come True, Elk Hunters Vow
Ft. Hood Soldier's Dream to Come True, Elk Hunters Vow
From Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation press release

MISSOULA, Mont.—U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Patrick Zeigler, shot four times at Fort Hood, Tex., on Nov. 5, dreams of recovering well enough to go elk hunting someday.

That wish has become a welcome command for a battalion of hunters eager to help.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an organization made up primarily of hunters focused on conserving habitat for elk and other wildlife, has adopted Zeigler as one of its own. Members have vowed to make the soldier’s dream come true—as well as support him through the grueling rehab and surgeries that stand between him and his first adventure in elk country.

When I told Patrick about the offer to go elk hunting, it was one of the few times I’ve seen his eyes light up since he’s been in the hospital. He loves to hunt and fish and be outdoors. He always wanted to hunt elk but never had a chance. Now, that experience is one of the things he’s driving for,” said Zeigler’s father, Pat, a career serviceman now standing vigil by his son’s side.


Zeigler, 28, was wounded when a gunman opened fire inside a crowded processing center at the Texas military base. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 others wounded before police shot and apprehended the accused shooter. Some of the survivors remain in critical condition, including Zeigler who still has bullets lodged in his head, shoulder and hip. A fourth bullet passed through his forearm. He is paralyzed on his left side and has begun treatment at a facility in Austin, Tex.


A graduate of Florida State University, volunteer fireman in his hometown and husband to be, Zeigler served two combat tours in Iraq. He had just been selected for officer candidate school before finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time at Fort Hood.


In the days after the shooting, Zeigler told a chaplain of his elk-hunting dream. The chaplain contacted Jim Zumbo, an outdoor writer and former RMEF board member devoted to providing hunting experiences for military heroes. Zumbo, in turn, called RMEF President and CEO David Allen.

“When I heard Patrick’s story, I knew our members would jump at the chance to help this guy. As soon as he’s able to go, we have a donated elk hunt waiting for him,” said Allen. “I’m humbled at the sacrifices that Patrick and his family have made, and pleased that we can offer him something meaningful to help him through a difficult time.”

Allen added, “We are not going to let Patrick and others be forgotten after the news and headlines go away. He deserves better. We want to be a part of his recovery as well as his life.”


RMEF members are offering moral support to Zeigler via Christmas cards, letters, small gifts and donations to a trust fund.

Although RMEF members are communicating directly with the Zeigler family, other supporters can get involved through Operation AC, a group that compiles and ships supplies, cards and letters to soldiers, including families affected by the Fort Hood shooting. Send to Ft. Hood, Injured c/o OPAC, 560 Peoples Plaza #121, Newark, DE 19702. More info at www.operationac.com or frankie@operationac.com.

The Zeigler family has set up a trust fund at a hometown bank. Send to SSG Zeigler, Patrick Trust Account, American National Bank of Texas, 5809 Wesley St., Greenville, TX 75402; (903) 455-7592.


Zeigler’s friends launched a web site, www.healpatrickzeigler.com, for additional info.

Allen has invited Zeigler to the annual RMEF convention in Reno in March, and is hoping the soldier is “well enough to attend and get to know his new elk hunting family.”

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.6 million acres—a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

Recommended for You

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set. Hogs

Quick Tips: How to Spot and Stalk a Hog

Ian Nance - May 28, 2019

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set.

Now that you know you might screw it up the next time a big fish bites, let's fix it. Fishing How-To

Why You'll Lose Your Next Big Bass

Larry Larsen

Now that you know you might screw it up the next time a big fish bites, let's fix it.

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on. Bass

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

G&F Online Staff - May 20, 2019

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

Multiple time FLW Costa winner Jessi Mizell is no stranger to catching big Florida bass on a popping frog. As he tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, with the new 13 Fishing Omen Black baitcasting rod, the job just got easier.

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

As Pure Fishing's Andrew Upshaw explains, reel making giant Abu Garcia has done it again at ICAST 2019 with a new spinning reel geared towards finesse fishermen.

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them. Reels

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them.

We all have our Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper - April 02, 2015

We all have our "swear by" bait for catfish. For me, it is chicken liver, live shad or my...

See More Stories

More Stories

A rimfire, old standard and new import top our list of favorite rifles for coyote hunting 

All Stories

3 Coyote Guns

Brad Fitzpatrick - September 28, 2017

A rimfire, old standard and new import top our list of favorite rifles for coyote hunting...

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human Stories

Coyotes In Suburbia

Stephen D. Carpenteri - November 30, 2016

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human

A father and daughter with their dogs on a dry ground mountain lion hunt get more than they bargain Stories

Arizona Mountain Lion Hunt Turns Into Dangerous Jaguar Encounter

Aaron Decker - November 30, 2011

A father and daughter with their dogs on a dry ground mountain lion hunt get more than they...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×