14-year-old Eric Peterson is suffering
from brain cancer. He's been fighting it for some time now. He fights
hard but it's a tough fight with little time for all of the things
a 14-year-old boy should be out doing. That is until now. This time
he faced another battle, one he's been looking forward to for some
time now. Thanks to the funding made available by the auction at the
2003 MOJAM Eric was able to enter a battle of wits with a big bull
elk on the bull's home turf.
Our friend Bill Klein from Deer tracks
Ranch guided Eric in his search for his dream of bagging a big bull.
Thanks to the generosity of so many people not only was Eric able
to hunt the hunt of his dreams but also his Mom, Dad, brother and
2 sisters were able to accompany him on his trip. I'd like to thank
all of you who have supported Benefit4Kids in our quest to help kids.
It's because of what all of you do that we are able to grant the Outdoor
Wishes of kids like Eric. Please join me in congratulating Eric winning
his battle with the majestic Bull Elk. Who knows, it may be a steppingstone
to winning an even more important battle Eric will return to after
his hunt. God bless.
Well as we all know sometimes bad weather
can affect the outcome of any hunt no matter how well planned. Just
prior to Eric's hunt some really nasty weather moved into the area
and things looked grim. Eric had one thing on his side and that was
Bill Klein at Deer Tracks.
After lunch on Friday Eric and Bill headed
out in search of Eric's bull. I had just talked to Bill on the phone
and even this veteran of many hunts was more than a little nervous
about the weather. He told me "Steve, if we don't get him one
tonight I'm not sure what's going to happen. The weather looks really
bad for the next few days and Eric can only hunt until Sunday night"
before he has to head back for more treatments". I wished Bill
luck and silently prayed that things would go well and they could
tag Eric's bull that night. They hunted hard that night and got a
glimpse of a few bulls but no shots presented themselves. As darkness
fell they were still empty handed and the predicted rain was starting
to fall and the winds whipped at 40+ mph.
Once back at the lodge Eric told Bill
"don't worry we'll get him tomorrow". Bill smiled and told
Eric "you bet" even though the weather was suppose to remain
just terrible for the next 2 days. Eric and his family shared a great
meal with Bill and they sat around the fireplace sharing stories of
past hunts and hopes for the days ahead. That night as they headed
for bed Bill crossed his fingers and said a few prayers. He told me
that somehow he felt Eric was right and they'd get Eric's bull even
though experience told him it wasn't going to happen.
When the alarms went off early Saturday
morning the wind was still howling pretty steadily. Although the weatherman
had promised continued rain throughout the day there seemed to be
a break in the clouds and the stars shone brightly overhead. Bill
was sure his prayers had been answered and they quickly ate breakfast
and headed back out to where they had seen a nice 6X6 the night before.
Bill figured they didn't have a lot of time so he brought one of the
other guides along to try and help locate a bull for Eric. He wasn't
sure how long their luck would hold with the weather and figured and
extra body would be a big help.
As they were setting up to do some calling
several bulls bugled in the distance. Bill hoped he could get one
in close enough for Eric to get a shot. As the wind whipped around
them it was sometimes hard to tell where the few bugles they heard
were coming from. Bill told Eric it would be tough to get one in this
weather but Eric just smiled seemingly knowing something Bill didn't.
As the morning hours ticked by Bill became
increasingly anxious as the clouds started rolling back in. They were
hanging low and threatening rain and the wind seemed to be picking
up again. Suddenly Bill saw movement off to their left. They hadn't
heard anything from that direction earlier but in this wind anything
could happen. Bill got Eric turned just as a big 6X6 walked out about
70 yards away. Eric quickly raised his rifle and though he thought
his heart would jump out of his chest he calmly squeezed the trigger
on his .35 Marlin. The bull stumbled at the shot but didn't go down.
Eric quickly put another round in the bull and he crumpled to the
ground from 2 well placed shots. Eric's outdoor wish of harvesting
a big bull elk had come true and even if only for a short time his
medical condition, doctors and needles were forgotten.
After a short time admiring Eric's trophy
and taking some pictures Bill started the work of getting it back
to the lodge. He and Eric were both anxious to get back and share
their good fortune with Eric's family. As they arrived back at the
lodge and were met by a bunch a smiling faces thunder rolled in the
distance and a steady rain started to fall. It didn't matter now though.
The kid with the infectious smile and the man who guided him to his
dream had beaten the odds and both had memories that would last them
Our thanks to all of you who have helped
make Eric's and other kids like him Outdoor Wishes come true. Without
your caring and generosity kid's like Eric may never have the chance
to live their dreams. May your quivers always be full and the winds
in your favor. God Bless.
B4K Notes: Eric's hunt was donated
in part by Deer Tracks Ranch.
Eric and his families travel and expenses were paid for by Benefit4Kids
as was his mount.