Hunter harvests 7x7 elk during opening weekend

Nathan Oster
Travis Marshall was among the big-game hunters who filled a tag on opening weekend, harvesting a massive 7x7 bull elk on public land in area 41.

If his name sounds familiar, it could be because Travis is the point man in Wyoming for Combat Warriors, Inc., a nonprofit organization that organizes and promotes events that bring together active duty and veteran soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen for hunting and fishing adventures around the country.

He’s a 2001 graduate of Greybull High School who went on to become a Green Beret and get deployed three times to Afghanistan, twice to Iraq and once to Ukraine, before retiring in Shell.

This is shaping up to be the biggest year ever for Combat Warriors, Inc., in Wyoming. Marshall has already guided for seven vets — four had elk tags, three had antelope tags. Two more are planned in the coming weeks.

With the amount of guiding he’s done, Marshall got the itch to hunt for himself.  “For four years while I’ve been doing Combat Warriors, I’ve been putting my own hunting off to the side,” he said. “So when I drew a bull tag, I told my wife, ‘I’ve yet to kill a good bull. I am going to tell everyone no for the bull season and try to get a good one.’ 

“And if I get a good one, I’m going to start archery hunting in September, where it doesn’t conflict with Combat Warriors hunting trips.”

He certainly had to work for his 7x7 bull, saying he and a friend named Henry, who is also a veteran, stalked it for a full day, but were never able to get close enough to take a shot.

The next day, he spotted the bull among a herd of 30 to 40 elk.  He was able to get a little closer than the day before, but not by much and had to rely on his “old sniper skills” to bring the animal down.

“I ranged him at 960 yards and was telling Henry, ‘Get on him. I need you to watch, so if I miss, I know where so I can correct.’ He didn’t spot him right away, but I was on him, dialed for 960, so I said, ‘I don’t have much time. I’m going to send it.’ I shot and center punched him first shot in the shoulder. 

“Then the pack out of eternity ensued. I’ve been telling people it was the first time in my life — Special Forces selection, Special Forces Q course, all my combat deployments — that I wanted to quit something.  The effort that went into this, nothing else compares.”

He estimates he walked more than 20 miles over the two days. “From my truck to him and back was four miles — and to the bottom of a canyon with a minimum of 1,000-foot elevation gain.”

While Travis was lukewarm about sharing his story, his “mom” Christine McMillan was not, calling it a “beautiful story” and suggesting that the Creator had provided Travis with an elk after all the help he’s provided to other veterans over the years.