Congregation offers up caribou hunt

By Craig Nyhus

Lone Star Outdoor News

The congregation at the Joshua Baptist Church in Burleson knew their preacher loved to hunt. For his 30-year anniversary at the 2,000-member church, they fulfilled their pastor’s lifelong dream when they gave their pastor a caribou hunt in Quebec.

Now, Dr. Gene Wolfenbarger has a beautiful caribou, thanks to his flock.

“I’ve hunted all my life,” Wolfenbarger said. “I grew up as a country boy in Tennessee and coon hunted from when I was a kid. Now, we do some deer hunting in Texas and my son Andrew and I have been on an elk hunt and a mule deer hunt.”

The congregation surprised him with the gift.

“They knew I always wanted to do this,” Wolfenbarger said. “They got together and paid the way. They sent Andrew to babysit me, but he’s been hunting the whole time. They are very generous to us.”

Andrew is co-pastor at the growing church that used to be in a small town.

“There are people all around Joshua now,” Wolfenbarger said. “It used to be a country town.”

Now, the church completed a $3.5 building, has a school and Spanish ministry.

“The Lord has been good to us,” said the 77-year-old pastor who has preached for more than 50 years.

Wolfenbarger’s hunt ended in success on the first day.

“The hunt was hard,” he said. “It was terribly long walking and the tundra was very hard to walk on. I tripped over every rock and stumbled over every bush. It’s a good thing I got it on the first day, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that another day.”

Wolfenbarger shot the first caribou taken at Leaf River Lodge’s southernmost camp, called the Desbergeras Camp.

“We had been walking and scoping out the area, trying to find some bulls,” he said. “We turned around and three of them were moving toward us at about 300 yards. I shot the middle one; he dropped like a stone.”

The pastor hunted for bear for the remaining days of the hunt without success, but it didn’t really matter. His lifelong dream was fulfilled.