Following a year of planning and the collaboration of six nonprofits organizations, 14-year-old Wyatt Rollman was able to go on the most memorable hunt of his life.
Rollman was got a diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy at the age of five. It was around 2018, however, that he found his passion for hunting after losing mobility in his legs, which landed him in a wheelchair.
This past October in Wyoming, Rollman took down his first buck, “Handlebars” — a buck who had evaded hunters for three years. Everyone who was present at the time agrees it was a memorable moment.
“I just kept hoping and hoping and I finally got him and I was really excited,” the 14-year-old said. Wyatt says next on his hunting bucket list is a bear and a moose.
A Memorable Hunt
One of the key organizers of the event said that it was one of the most memorable hunts he’d ever been on and he “didn’t even bring a gun.”
“You got nine people watching you shoot just to put a little extra pressure on him and it was one of the best hunts probably the best hunt I’d ever been on and I didn’t even take a gun,” Vice President of nonprofit On the Water Inc. Jeff Whillock said.
Furthermore, another volunteer explained some of the behind-the scenes of how the whole thing came together.
“We actually knew each other like in a circle ya know? I’ve been doing Prairie Grit Hunts, I had met Jeff cause he’d been working with Wyatt and I knew the folks from Veteran’s Help Foundation. Jeff also knew the folks from Veteran’s Help Foundation so somehow it all came together,” volunteer DJ Randolph said.
Randolph added, “That was a pretty amazing experience, and as Jeff had said earlier, there were nine adults out in the field, and everyone was crying and shaking hands and congratulating each other it’s one of those things you’ll never forget.”
Coronavirus Postpones National Trials for Wyatt Rollman
Before taking down his first buck, Wyatt Rollman got an invite earlier this year to try precision air rifle shooting while taking a Hunter Education class at MRPC. Rollman was taking the class as a pre-requisite to hunting opportunities offered by Prairie Grit and Outdoor Adventures.
“He went on Saturday morning and fell in love with it,” said his mom, Karen Rollman. “He had great support and a great group of people at the club.”
Rollman was without a doubt a quick learner. It’s especially remarkable that he does his shooting from a wheelchair. He was accepting of all his coaching and was sure to pay close attention to what his instructors were telling him.
“They are all real nice to me but also hard on me to get better and better at it,” said Wyatt. “Really, it is pretty easy to take instructions.”
A big part of his improvement, he says, was learning how to concentrate.
“Really hard and focus on shooting, not other things,” Rollman explained. “Now I just take my time and have the best grip on everything. I was always squeezing everything too hard.”
The attention to detail paid off with an invite to the Paralympics trials. However, the trials saw a postponement following the outbreak of the coronavirus.