Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Father & Son to the Rescue

Near Quemado, New Mexico
Matt Woodward knows how to find wild game. After all, that’s his job. Woodward and his family own an outfitting business, Borderland Adventures, that offers guided hunts for elk, antelope, Coues deer, whitetail, mule deer, turkey and pheasants on private land in Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico and Sonora, Mexico.

Even though Matt sees a lot of animals, his heart skipped a beat on a recent scouting trip from central Arizona to east-central New Mexico. Accompanied by his eight-year-old son, Trent, he traveled to a ranch about 15 miles outside of Quemado. With a goal of checking out the land and hanging some trail cameras, they came upon a spotted elk calf struggling with one of its small hoofs stuck in the lower rungs of a barbed wire fence. 

“We probably messed with her about five minutes or so trying to get it off. It was a pretty tight deal but I ended up getting a couple of tire irons and tools out of the back of the truck to pry the wire apart and work her hoof out of there,” said Woodward. “The calf was a little beat up. She rubbed herself a little raw on the fence but I think she’ll be just fine.”

Matt gets to work...
...and sets the calf free.
Once free, their work was not done. The calf remained nearby and it was another hot day on the parched landscape.

“Range conditions are really tough out there right now. We’ve got wolves to the south of us and no rain in sight,” said Woodward. “We coaxed her over about 40 yards or so toward some trees because she was out in the open in the blazing sun. We could hear some cows talking about 200 to 300 yards up the hill from us. We figured they were still close. Two hours later, she was gone.”

The elk rescue is an experience Matt won’t soon forget. Same goes for his boy.

“It was very cool. My son had never seen an elk up that close. It was a really neat deal for him. He had a glow on his face about it.”

From the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and elk and wildlife lovers everywhere we say “Thanks Matt! Thanks Trent!” An elk rescue on a hot New Mexico day by a family of elk hunters in the hunting business—a hands-on example of how Hunting is Conservation.

Trent watches the freed calf


  1. That's the best I use to hunt but as I've gotten older I think I'd just hunt with a camera now! With out a bunch of mouths to feed I'd injoy the pictures a lot! Thanks gentlemen!!!

  2. Great job! What a great story! So many people do not understand that hunting is an important part of conservation, and what a touching example you and your son have given us!! Thanks Borderland Adventures!

  3. Check out Tangle Free Montana. We're a non-profit that works with volunteers to remove obsolete barb-wire fencing off public lands to prevent wildlife entanglements. We also work on educating the public about the hazards created by certain wire fences as well as how to build wildlife friendly fencing.

  4. Your group is doing some good work Christopher. Our past collaborations provide evidence of that. Thanks for helping out elk country.

  5. Funny thing, ain't it? We Love these animals and wish for them to prosper, are thrilled and gratified when we see them plentiful and happy in mountain meadows. And when the season rolls around, we are just as thrilled to have them in our sights and on the dinner table. I just chalk it all up to the Great Mystery of Life.