For a couple of months after I was conscious, I couldn’t believe I’d never walk again. After 3 months in the hospital, I was allowed to go back home, where I continued physical therapy and occupational therapy for about another 6 months. I assumed my hunting career was over. But then when I was 18, I learned that there was an organization in North Dakota that took hunters with disabilities bowhunting. The members called me up and asked me if I’d like to be a part of a hunt. I didn’t think I could hunt, but the organization got a crossbow for me to shoot. My dad helped me set up the crossbow with a mounting system I could use to move my crossbow around on my wheelchair. I went on the hunt, and even though I didn’t take a deer, I learned that I could hunt. And, later that first year I did take a deer. When I talked to other bowhunters in wheelchairs, they told me many ideas that worked about how I could continue to hunt, even though I was paralyzed.
When I returned from that hunt, friends and family members offered to take me hunting with them. I live in a rural community about 7 miles out of town, and our area has a real good deer population all around our farm. That first year I hunted I didn’t have a blind, so I ordered Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camouflage, and I got wrapped up in that camouflage and backed up against bushes and trees to break up my silhouette. Even today I’ll often use the Hunter Specialties burlap that I now can get in Break-Up Country, Shadow Branch and other Mossy Oak patterns. Now I have a pop-up blind - the Primos Ground Max with Shadow Branch camo.
When I got back into hunting, I also returned to school. After I finished high school, I went to North Dakota State University and graduated with a degree in Mass Communications in 2002. As I grew accustomed to my new body, I spent more and more time hunting and fishing.