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
ó CHRIS POYNTER, Hunting guide
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
∑ 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.
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
"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
"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
"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
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
But the seed for Hunt of a Lifetime had
been planted, and Tina Pattison quickly got to work. Her organization is young
"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."