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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


Friday ó January 30, 2004

Features

Guided hunt
fulfills Pennsylvania
youthís dream

16-year-old bags huge elk


"Iíd never experienced anything like that before, to take a kid we know is on his last leg and be able to fulfill a dream. To be a part of that and to get to know the kid, to make an impact and to get to know his parents. Itís a connection you donít just make with every person you meet."

ó CHRIS POYNTER, Hunting guide


Fulfilling dreams

Thanks goes out to the following people and businesses who donated time and services to make Cole Barnesí "Hunt of a Lifetime" a success:

∑  Sheldon and Karen Yanke, Y3 Ranch.
∑  Brian and Lorna Hamel, license and departure lodging.
∑  Chris and Sara Poynter, meals, lodging and hunt assist.
∑  Tom and Linda Peterson, hunt assist.
∑  Paul and Lynn Ramm, horses and tack.
∑  Frank Batcha, medical consultant.
∑  Gary Peak, Splash íní Dash, donated shipping of game.
∑  Intermountain Taxidermy, trophy mount.
∑  Charlie and Ann Gifford, donated air miles.
∑  David Fox, Silver Fox Catering, wild game dinner.
∑  Tews Ranch and Hunt Club, pheasant and chukar hunting.
∑  Sutton and Sons, rental vehicle.
∑  Dan Logan, butchering and packaging of elk.


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

Cole Barnes, a 16-year-old Pennsylvanian who is diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening form of cancer, came to the Wood River Valley last fall to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Cole Barnes, 16, poses with a Boone and Crocket Club 330-class, six-point bull elk he bagged near Stanton Crossing, east of Fairfield, in November. Courtesy photo

On the second day of his weeklong visit, Barnes, an avid hunter, shot a Boone and Crocket Club 330-class, six-point bull elk near Stanton Crossing, east of Fairfield. Itís a caliber of elk that takes many people a lifetime to shoot, said Wood River Valley hunting guide Chris Poynter.

"I was surprised to get one at all," Barnes said. "Iím known for missing a lot of deer. So, all my friends didnít expect me to get one, either."

According to Poynter, who helped guide Barnesí hunt, the young man understated his enthusiasm.

"He about pissed his pants," Poynter said.

Barnesí visit to the Wood River Valley from Nov. 5 to Nov. 11 was not due to happenstance. A Pennsylvania-based organization called Hunt of a Lifetime is working to fill a void posed by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which, since the mid-1990s, has declined to arrange hunting trips due to animal rights protests.

As Hunt of a Lifetimeís Idaho ambassador, Bellevue resident Brian Hamel said he wants to try to fulfill final wishes for as many young hunters and anglers as he can.

"Iíve been an avid sportsman for 30 years, and a hunter education instructor for 10 years," he said. "Through the hunter education program, we get so much enjoyment from the kids. For a kid who has an illness, to be able to put together their dream is tremendous and fulfilling."

Hunt of a Lifetime is open to anyone 21 years old and younger who has a life-threatening illness. Those who are accepted to the program travel, hunt and stay for free. For Barnesí hunt, more than a dozen local residents donated time and services to make it a success. As ambassadors for the local area, they also made an impact on Barnes.

"Iíve never met a group of people so nice in my lifeólaid back people," the 16-year-old said via telephone last week. "I was only there five days, and I felt more at home than I do in my own house."

Barnes, a sophomore in high school who plays running back for the high school football team, was diagnosed with a rare form of throat cancer on Feb. 4, 2002. But he said he hasnít let it dampen his spirits.

"It was harder on my parents than it was on me, I think," he said.

For his new Idaho friends, the young manís indefatigable spirit was contagious.

"He was a real personable, but real shy young fella," Poynter said. "He was really into hunting and really into fulfilling a dream of his."

Hamel said the groupís chemistry helped.

"As time progressed, the group really came together," he said. "There were definite bonds that formed. Both Cole and his dad said they will definitely come back to visit."

Barnes said the size and scope of the landscape in South Central Idaho was intimidating and cast personal doubts on his mission.

"I wasnít too confident about shooting one," he said. "After the first day of elk huntingóall the walking. On the second day, I actually realized how much land there is out there and how few elk."

But later that day, while hunting some privately owned land with the permission of its owners, he got a bead on the massive six-point. The rest of the week was spent pheasant and chukar hunting and reveling in the success of the hunt.

"You know what? It was very touching," Poynter said. "Iíd never experienced anything like that before, to take a kid we know is on his last leg and be able to fulfill a dream. To be a part of that and to get to know the kid, to make an impact and to get to know his parents. Itís a connection you donít just make with every person you meet."

"It opened my eyes about how precious life is, what we can do to make an impact on peopleís lives, rather than just living our own lives for ourselves, start thinking about other people."

Hunt of a Lifetime was founded in August 1999 by Tina and Chester Pattison, parents of a terminally ill young man who wanted more than anything to hunt a moose in Canada before he died. But after being denied by the Make-A-Wish Foundation following protests to that organizationís hunt-oriented trips, the family was left searching for a way to fulfill the then-18-year-old Chester Pattisonís dying wish.

The coupleís prayers were answered with a call from an outfitter in the tiny town of Nordegg, Alberta, Canada. The townís residents were pitching in for Matt.

Matt got a huge moose with a 55-inch-wide rack. In April 1999, at the age of 19, he succumbed to cancer, his dying wish fulfilled.

But the seed for Hunt of a Lifetime had been planted, and Tina Pattison quickly got to work. Her organization is young and growing.

"I just want to say thank you to all the folks that encouraged me to begin the Hunt of a Lifetime foundation," Tina Pattison writes on the organizationís Web site. "To my son, Matt, and the life he lived loving the outdoors to the fullest and passing on to others what hunting and fishing meant to him Ö

"There are people everywhere helping youngsters that are in need, and they helped give so many children an experience, a Hunt of a Lifetime."

 

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