Elk NetworkElk Hunter Rescued from Backcountry, Surgeons Save Leg

General | November 18, 2021

Thanks to the grit and determination of two heroic Utah Division of Wildlife Resource (DWR) officers, as well as the courage and endurance of a young, injured elk hunter, it looks like Coy Kummer will regain use of his right leg.

It happened on October 10, 2021, in northern Utah. Twenty-two-year-old Coy and his father, Brian Kummer, were hunting in the mountains near Spanish Fork, when they stopped to help another hunter pack his bull elk off the mountain. Unfortunately, as they loaded the animal onto Coy’s horse, the elk’s antler poked the horse which caused it to jump and bolt. In doing so, it ran over Coy, stepping directly on his right leg.

“I turned around to see where the horses were going and I see Coy standing, and he says, ‘I can’t feel anything in my leg,’” Brian told KSTU-TV. “I could see his leg and I could instantly tell his leg was broken.”

Brian immediately sent out an SOS signal on his satellite radio. DWR conservation officers Chuck Lawrence and Justin Brimhall answered the call and took action. They drove to the closest access point and met Brian, drove an ATV as far as they could up the canyon and then hiked in from there.

“Justin’s small medical kit contained a roll-out splint, which, along with Justin’s belt and some leather straps from the horses’ tack, were used to splint Coy’s legs together,” said Lawrence. “Walking on either side supporting Coy in the middle wouldn’t work on the narrow, rough trail, so I ended up giving Coy a piggyback ride. Others in the rescue party helped support his legs so he didn’t get further injured by hitting bushes, rocks, etc. while being carried out.”

Upon reaching the ATV, they loaded him up and drove him to an awaiting ambulance which transported him to the hospital.

“During the entire time we worked to stabilize and transport Coy, we recognized that he was one tough dude,” said Lawrence. “Although he was fighting obvious pain, he was polite and we tried to keep his spirits high by joking with Coy about trash talking game wardens. Smiling, Coy said he would no longer talk trash on game wardens.”

Coy spent five days in the hospital where doctors performed three surgeries on his right leg with a fourth still to come.

“Many prayers were offered that night! Our Heavenly Father answered our prayers! Coy’s leg was not amputated during surgery!” Brian posted on his Facebook page. “The next morning everything began to turn for the better. The blood flow began to return to Coy’s leg. The pulse increased to his foot!”

Coy is expected to be able to walk again in early to mid-2022.

Go here to read about the incident in words of Sergeant Lawrence.

(Photo credit: Brian Kummer)