September 02, 2022
The day before the hunt and Mason started counting down the seconds until his New Mexico public-land Antelope season opened. Mason is 14 and was diagnosed with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) at the age of 7. Duchenne’s is the most aggressive and fatal form of Muscular Dystrophy. This rare disease is caused by a genetic mutation that prevents the body from producing a protein called dystrophin, which acts as a shock absorber for muscle cells, and without it, the muscle cells get damaged and weaken over time. This genetic disorder primarily affects boys and is progressive in nature, leading to a fatal outcome usually in their early 20’s.
Mason doesn’t let DMD define him or slow him down regarding his passions. He is an extremely passionate hunter who loves to get outdoors. With the help of his Action Track Chair, Mason can fulfill his hunting dreams. He also uses a Kopfjager Reaper Grip shooting platform that holds and stabilizes the rifle—a custom-built 30 Nosler. Without using the Reaper Grip, Mason would not be able to hold the rifle and hunt as freely as he does due to the weight.
On the opening day of the hunt, Mason sprung out of bed, brushed his teeth and told his family, “I’m ready. Let’s Go!”
The sun was starting to rise, the air was crisp and the hunt was on. Glassing up several antelope bucks right away, it became clear this was going to be a fun hunt. This was the second public-land hunt, and the antelope were skittish and running to the next county at the sight of any movement (if you’ve ever hunted antelope, you know). We spent the day glassing up buck after buck, but each opportunity ended with the same conclusion.
The day was long, rain was falling, and the mud was flying. It was a day full of adventure. By 5 p.m., the rain had stopped and Austin, Mason’s brother, glassed up a nice buck feeding. The stalk is on, we slowly crept along trying to get within shooting range without getting spotted. Finally, we made it within range (401 yards), wind was in our face. Mason was on the rifle with ear protection on. Suddenly, the buck jumped as if he knew we were there. He trotted off and stopped to look around. This gave Mason the split second he needed and asked, “You ready? I’m going to shoot!” He squeezed the trigger and just like that, the buck jumped and went over a small rise, dirt and mud flew everywhere. “He’s down!” we cheered. Staying on the rifle as Mason always does, waiting for a follow up shot, he asks, “Are you sure?” We blurted a quick, excited response, “Yes, he down!” The excitement started to set in, but Mason wanted to make sure before celebrating.
We made our way up to the downed buck and the excitement and adrenaline really set in. Seeing the smile on Mason’s face when he laid eyes on his trophy was priceless. After saying a prayer thanking the antelope and paying him respect, Mason could not stop going over the events that just to took place. He talked about how everything went down and how much this buck meant to him. Each and every hunt Mason is able to embark on is a true blessing, it’s in its rawest form, purest by nature. The things we take for granted are the same things he cherishes with great pride.