Patience and Persistence

I have waited for this moment for a long time. May 26, 2010 – 9:15 AM. Today I harvested my first turkey in 11 years. I had been an avid hunter prior to my disability. I believed I would never be able to hunt again, especially by myself. Today’s success was the result of the labors of many people: my wife, who walked me out and help me set up, my nurse Rhonda, who came at 6 AM the mornings in May so I would have more time to hunt, my neighbor Mike, who allows me to hunt his land, my friend John, who gave me his time to set up blinds made out of snow fence and camouflage material, and so it goes. My wife likes to say “It takes a village”.

The blind

I am also proud of myself. Over the 11 years, I got discouraged; turkeys often were close enough to harvest but something always went wrong.  In the beginning it was my inability to camouflage my wheelchair well enough, then my finger couldn’t pull the trigger, or I had a muscle spasm which alerted the turkeys to my presence and were instantly gone. But I persisted and attempted to correct the challenges as they presented themselves. But at the end of each spring I had the same results — NOTHING. Often it was a process of trial and error, but gradually my efforts began to improve my chances. I created a trigger adapter which allows me to fire the shotgun using my mouth. Not only does this solve the problem of trying to find the trigger, but it also allows me to use both hands to steady the gun. At many points along the way it would’ve been easy to give up and quit. I know from experience it’s a lot easier to give advice to others than it is to take it myself. So get discouraged, get frustrated, but don’t give up.

My trigger adapter

One of the things I like the most about hunting is that it is totally irrelevant to the game that I am an individual with a disability. To the turkeys I hunt, I am just another predator and that’s all I ask for. Today was definitely a day worth waiting for.

The turkey on my lap. On my right knee is a turkey call I adapted to sit on my thigh so I could use one handed

5 responses to “Patience and Persistence

  1. Again, your wisdom have inspired me to reflect, evaluate, and consider life’s deeper meaning. I just read your last 6 or 7 posts and can see you’re moving into another stage of life – as we all are, constantly. Thank you for the insight and the gentle reminders to live life fully and appreciatively. I, too, have a son graduating so your story about your neighbor boy really struck a nerve. When we dropped our first son off at college three years ago, my husband and I cried. not because we were sad – although, of course we were to some degree- but because we were jealous. WE wanted to be 19, free, and going off to start our lives again! We celebrate their youth, but sometimes it reminds us of our earlied days. I love the blog, Rich! Nice job bagging the turkey, too!

  2. Rich,
    congratulations on taking a beautiful turkey and creating a great adaptation to the trigger. I look forward to reading more of your hunting exploits in the future. I will also link to your blog if that’s okay? Have a great day, thanks again for the good idea!

  3. I want to add my congratulations as well, Uncie. This is more than just a hunting story. It’s a lesson in perseverance.

    I love what you wrote:

    “At many points along the way it would’ve been easy to give up and quit. I know from experience it’s a lot easier to give advice to others than it is to take it myself. So get discouraged, get frustrated, but don’t give up.”

    Truer words were never written! much love.

    • Rich from handihelp

      Janie,

      Thanks for the comments. It means a lot to me to know what people think. Hope you and Matt have a great day tomorrow.

      Uncie

  4. Rich – wow you should be proud – I for one know how hard it is to bag one of these buggers. I got out myself only twice this year and didn’t have any success. I have been so wrapped up in an event for vets that I couldn’t find the time – see website. I will pass on your story to some of the young vets I’ve met that face similar challenges. God bless and keep fighting the fight.

    My next volunteer project will be our 50th high school reunion – see you there.

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