For 14-year-old Grace Claytor, it was a trip and an elk hunting adventure she will never forget.
Claytor and her father made a 2,600-mile cross country trip from Chapin, South Carolina, to Oregon’s elk country thanks to the Outdoor Dream Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Stimson Lumber Company and other partners. It was the 12th year in a row for such a hunt to take place.
Doctors diagnosed Grace with brittle bone disease and papillary thyroid cancer at the mere age of eight. (This made her eligible for one of 10 special Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife elk tags.) Tragically, one year after Grace’s diagnosis, her twin sister Hanna was diagnosed with the same disease and passed away. Needless to say, her early years have been difficult. This trip would be an opportunity for adventure and travel.
After getting her rifle sighted in and receiving the necessary hunting supplies, Grace and her helpers headed out in search of elk. Some hunts last three days but this one ended that first evening. Just a few hours into the hunt, Grace successfully killed a bull elk. Her Oregon stay also included a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory, crabbing in Netarts Bay and several other outdoor and indoor activities.
A tip of the hat to RMEF volunteers and our partners for making this a trip Grace will always remember.