FORT WAYNE – Noah Barbknecht has been all over the country hunting – to Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, North Dakota – which doesn’t make him unlike many other sportsmen.
But Barbknecht, 16, is paralyzed from the breastbone down because of a skiing accident that took place in December 2012.
He still just wanted to do everything, his father, Jason, said.
Noah, who attends Northrop High School, has remained committed to sports – he does shot put and discus – but it’s hunting that’s his real passion.
And he hunts about everything you can name – deer, birds, hogs, rams, pheasants, doves – and because of his success and his inspiring qualities in remaining committed to the sport, he received the Pathfinder Award from the Northeast Indiana Chapter of Safari Club International.
There are so many different things that he’s done and that’s why he’s getting the award, Jason said. He hunts. He still fishes – bow fishes – and he’s still successful.
Noah was still rehabilitating from his injury when he went on a turkey hunt.
When Noah talks about his hunting, more than anything, Noah speaks of how grateful he is to all the people who have helped him – it’s taken donations of equipment like a wheelchair and a portable blind – and also of how wonderful it is to spend all this time with his father on hunts.
Moving his wheelchair through fields, up and down hills, around trees, near water, it’s no easy task.
I think I might be an inspiration to some people, yes, Noah said. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s easy (hunting despite the injury). It can be difficult to get some places and that’s why my dad has to help. But it’s nice to get into those hard places I reach.
Asked about his favorite kind of hunt, Noah said it’s probably bowhunting for deer.
Probably because I started doing that really early, when I was young, and my dad took me out and taught me all the stuff about hunting, Noah said. It’s a challenge. The deer’s hearing, sight and smell, and they know danger that other animals don’t realize is there. It’s a good way of hunting. It’s hard for me. We usually bow hunt for deer and it’s hard to get close enough. It makes it more challenging.
Jason said, It takes a lot of teamwork and I have to be there to help, on the hunts he and Noah take part in throughout the year.
But he has been inspired by his son and, obviously, so have other people. That’s why he got the Pathfinder Award, which recognizes the never quit attitude its recipients have demonstrated in overcoming their challenges.