Volunteers Help Make a Dream Hunt Happen
Eleven-year-old Brycen Fuhrman ran to reach his 5X6 bull elk, after his 250-yard shot downed it. He was so excited to touch his first-ever big game animal, he didn’t wait for his dad, his guide or the cameraman. He says he was surprised by how big the bull was when he reached it.
Brycen was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was five years old, and his dad Randy says there was a time he didn’t think Brycen would be around to create hunting memories with him.
“August 19 of 2013 at 1:37 p.m.,” he says. “I remember the exact time when two doctors told me and my wife that he had leukemia. And that memory will be ingrained forever. But it’s moments like these that make the memory of that moment a little bit easier.”
He couldn’t have been happier to see his son kill an elk. “I got emotional when he took that bull elk,” he says.
Brycen and Randy, an active duty Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy, traveled from their home in Suffolk, Virginia, to hunt the CB Ranch in Darby, Montana, on November 5, 6 and 7. The hunt was sponsored by the Outdoor Dream Foundation (ODF) and RMEF. The Outdoor Dream Foundation is a nonprofit fueled entirely by volunteers, and it grants outdoor adventures to kids under age 21 with terminal or life-threatening illnesses.
RMEF Five Valleys Chapter volunteers and committee members Korie Campbell, 22, and her fiancé TJ Rudolph, 23, worked with ODF and the CB Ranch for months to plan and organize the hunt beginning in spring of 2018. They each took a week off work to get everything ready and accompany Brycen on his hunt.
Campbell and Rudolph arranged the hunting dates with the ranch, found lodging, lined up a rental car, and coordinated with the cameraman. They reached out to Sportsman’s Warehouse about donating some hunting clothes for Brycen. Sportsman’s contacted Sitka Gear, and Sitka donated head-to-toe hunting clothes for both Brycen and Randy.
“This is something we have always wanted to be a part of,” says Campbell. “We’ve had numerous conversations about how much hunting and being in the outdoors means to us and how we want to be able to share that experience with disabled veterans, kids and people with terminal illnesses.”
Five Valleys Chapter chair Mark Sommer, originally approached CB Ranch about hosting ODF hunts, and the ranch personnel have since participated in three other hunts. “The ranch manager told me they want to help us do this every year,” says Campbell.
During his three-day hunt, Brycen killed his bull and a four-point whitetail buck. His tags and an out of state hunting license were all free of charge. The RMEF grant paid for food, lodging and the rental car. ODF paid for meat processing and taxidermy of Brycen’s animals. Campbell and Rudolph coordinated with the professionals providing those services.
After fighting leukemia for three years, Brycen has now been cancer-free for three, although his dad says he will have to get checkups every year for the rest of his life.
When the Fuhrman’s got back to Virginia, they shared Brycen’s hunting stories and game meat with his mom and siblings Hayden, 14, Macey, nine, and Jayce, three. ODF filmed the entire hunt, and they televise their show from January-June.
“This was just a dream come true for both of us,” says Randy.