Winecup Gamble Ranch offers the hunt of a lifetime to honor veterans
By Dianna Troyer
For Iraq War veteran Daniel Tingle, recipient of the 2020 Wounded Hero Project, November 21 cannot come soon enough.
It’s the date the 35-year-old Minden, Nevada, resident has marked on his calendar to launch his complimentary six-day elk hunt at Winecup Gamble Ranch, renowned nationwide among hunters for its trophy bull elk.
Since 2011, the ranch’s owners and employees have partnered with the Nevada Outfitters and Guides Association to offer the Wounded Hero Project at the sprawling ranch in southeastern Idaho and northern Nevada. The ranch provides an elk tag and lodging.
“I’m really excited for the hunt,” says Daniel, an avid angler and rifle and archery hunter who has harvested elk, deer, antelope and hog. “Hunting gives me a sense of purpose and is a meaningful way to provide healthy food for my family. It gets me out in beautiful country where I can be myself, and gives me something to look forward to and a goal to achieve.”
Rachel Buzzetti, the association’s secretary, says nominees must be a Nevada resident and Purple Heart recipient.
“We accept nominations by word of mouth,” she says.
An association member volunteers to take the veteran hunting. Along with guides, a butcher and taxidermist provide their services for free.
In the spring, Daniel learned he was the 2020 recipient. He was nominated by the contractor who built his house through nonprofit charity Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors.
The veteran’s hunt is as exciting for ranch employees as it is for the recipient.
“It’s one of the highlights of our year — sharing this landscape we call home with veterans who have sacrificed for our freedom,” says James Rogers, a ranch employee who coordinates the hunt. “The
owners of the ranch have always felt it was a small token of appreciation to our veterans and a great project to support.
“Generations of men and women have served and sacrificed for this country to protect our freedoms and the vision that this nation was founded on,” James says. “The importance of that can’t be stressed enough. Our veterans have earned the respect and thanks of a country that wouldn’t be the same without them. It’s great when we can join forces with our community to honor these veterans in a special way.”
In August, Daniel was presented with hunting gifts in Elko. He received a rifle with scope and clothing from sponsors Gunwerks, Vortex Optics, and Gun World and Archery, a sporting goods store in Elko. VFW Post 2350 in Elko donated, too.
At the Elko County Commissioners’ office, Daniel was presented with a proclamation of appreciation for his service.
Daniel says, he wanted to enlist in the military since he was young.
“I came from a military family, with my parents serving in the U.S. Navy and my grandfather serving with the Merchant Marines,” he says. “After 9/11, I wanted to serve my country.”
After graduating from Douglas High School in Minden, Daniel enlisted in the Army in 2004 and finished his training as a cavalry scout.
In January 2007, he had returned from a patrol mission in Iraq and was getting his Humvee serviced when there was a mortar attack.
“I dove into my vehicle,” he says. “When there was a break, I ran for a nearby bunker and was hit. Before that, I’d survived 32 mortar attacks.”
This time was different. Most of Daniel’s left foot was gone, and his right foot, ankle and leg suffered shrapnel wounds. He took a medical retirement from the Army in 2009.
After 26 surgeries on his left foot, he still suffered from chronic pain. To alleviate the discomfort, doctors amputated his foot in December 2015.
“It took a while to get used to my prosthesis, but I’m able to get around better without pain,” he says.
Daniel says he, his wife, Megan, and their four children will feast on a freezer full of meat after the hunt. Besides a gift of meals, he says he knows he will make memories.
“I remember all of my hunts and have a deep respect for wildlife,” he says. “I always say a prayer and thank God for the animal because it’s a blessing for my family.”
Daniel says hunting and cooking wild game reminds him of his parents.
“My dad grew up in Kentucky and taught me the value of hunting and self-sufficiency,” he says. “I learned to cook and have an appreciation for good food from my mom. With our wild game, we make tacos, roasts, steaks, chili—you name it.”
Daniel says he experiments and makes his own jerky and sauces for meat.
“Strawberries with a little brown sugar make a delicious marinade for steaks,” he says. “You slice and mash them and marinate the meat for 12 to 24 hours. After searing the meat, you put the marinade on top.”
Despite his wounds, Daniel says he has no regrets about serving in the Middle East and is proud of the Army. He often wears a knit hat with the Army insignia on it while hunting.
“I’m so grateful to the people and programs that support veterans,” he says. “We moved into our new house in late September, and I can watch our kids walk to and from school. Our freezer will be full again after this hunt. Life is good.”