It had been a stellar spring. My annual stick-and-string turkey tour was a success, and I was able to skewer a free-ranging Corsican ram in Texas. Life was good. To top it all off, I pointed the Dodge north in late May and made the 24-hour trek to my Idaho bear camp. I spent several days hunting public land with my good buddy and serious bear guru Jim Brennan. When it was over, a gorgeous chocolate bruin fell victim to my Victory VAP V1 shaft tipped with a razor-sharp Muzzy Trocar.
I didn't miss a beat when the calendar rolled from May to June. I stayed true to my shooting regimen and continued to pound the pavement with my Adidas. Oftentimes, late in the evening, I would toss on my Tenzing 5000 loaded down with 75 pounds of rocks and go climb the hills near my Colorado home. Fall was, after all, just a few short months away, and pinned to my license board in my office were a Ruby Mountain Nevada mule deer tag, a Colorado pronghorn tag and a Colorado elk tag.
Life was good. Life was perfect. Then it happened. I will spare you the long, boring details and get right to the point: I contracted viral meningitis along with another serious virus at the exact same time. According to my disease control doctor, the two viruses merged to form a "super virus." After a few days of squirming around my hospital bed in severe pain, the decision was made to ship me to a larger hospital (one with a neurological floor) in Denver, Colorado. It was touch and go for the next few days. On more than one occasion the doctors told my wife that it wasn't looking too good, but God gave me the strength I needed and brought me through the ordeal. Needless to say, I missed my coveted Nevada hunt as well as my Colorado elk hunt. I dabbled at chasing a few pronghorn, but my body was weak and exhausted. I'd spent a total of nine days in the hospital and lost 16 pounds. Plus, my head pounded and I got severe dizzy spells whenever I tried to really exert myself.
August turned to September and September to October, and though I still get ultra-tired at night and the recovery process has been a bit slower than I'd like, I've managed to kick off my fall in a grand fashion. No, I haven't killed a buck. No, I didn't go on some crazy adventure in a far-off land. Rather, I've pulled through my Scott Hex Hunter release three times and have put two fall hen turkeys and a plump Colorado doe on the ground.
I have lots of aches and pains. I've fallen asleep in my treestand twice (thank you, Hunter Safety System). It's been difficult to roll out of bed a few times in the morning after spending only a handful of hours in a treestand the day before. But, mostly, it's been lots of fun. I'm just so thankful to be on this side of the dirt, to be out doing what I love and cherish so much, to have a family that supports me. This entire experience has slowed me down considerably, and has changed how I think to an extent. I take the time to watch the leaves change, to push my face into a crisp north wind and inhale deeply, to truly enjoy this wonderful sport of bowhunting.
Be sure to keep checking back. I'm getting stronger all the time and it won't be long before some horn starts hitting the ground. Until then, God bless and good hunting.