Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

This Kid’s All Heart

In early October 2013, the Palouse Whitepine Chapter in Moscow, Idaho, hosted a young man from Farmington, Utah, on an Outdoor Dream hunt. The Outdoor Dream Foundation is a non-profit organization that grants outdoor adventures to children who have been diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. Josh Pace, 12 years old, was born with only three chambers in his heart instead of four. His dream was to hunt a bull moose.

Josh Pace & friends
Josh and his father Chad arrived the afternoon of October 2. The chapter had already pitched camp on Bennett Lumber Company land. After a dinner of burgers and hot dogs around the campfire, the group made plans for the next morning’s hunt.

Among the volunteers was a special young man from Brevard, North Carolina. Justin Turner was a guest of the Palouse Whitepine Chapter three years ago on his own Outdoor Dream moose hunt while battling a rare form of bone cancer. Justin, now 19, has been in remission ever since. He has graduated from Northwest Lineman College in Meridian and is now working in New Jersey. When he heard that we were hosting another hunt for the Outdoor Dream Foundation, he bought his own plane ticket and flew out to Idaho to help out. Justin is a true inspiration to everyone that has met him. He truly knows the ups and downs of Josh’s situation and wants to give back in any way that he can to help others in similar situations.

That first morning the hunting party was able to spot several moose feeding in clearcuts, including one fine bull. Unfortunately by the time Josh and his dad decided that they wanted to kill this moose, the bull walked into the woods and out of sight. They spotted a few more moose over the next few days, but nothing of the caliber of that first one.

On Saturday, the third day of hunting, the group took the morning off to go bear hunting with hounds. After a slow start the hounds finally struck a hot trail mid-morning and the chase was on! After an exciting chase, the bear was treed and Josh was able to kill his first big game animal.

Sunday morning dawned with a heavy frost. The group left camp well before daylight to make it to the clearcuts before the moose slipped away. The group walked out into a massive clearcut just at sunup and immediately spotted a good bull. As Josh was getting set up, someone noticed two more bulls in the same clearcut, and one was very impressive. After repositioning, Josh was able to kill his moose at 185 yards. Ironically, after comparing photos of the moose that walked off the first day, they confirmed that this was the same animal.

Sponsoring an Outdoor Dream Foundation hunt is a massive undertaking that only comes together when you have a solid group of dedicated volunteers. The reward for all the time and effort is the smile of a child and the satisfaction of bringing such happiness to those who deserve it. Well done, Palouse Whitepine Chapter, well done.

-Wayne Brood, Idaho State Chair

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