While I was bowhunting in South Dakota last week, the heartrending story of a paralyzed deer hunter’s decision to end life support made national news. In case you missed it, after falling 16 feet from his treestand on Nov. 2, Indiana hunter Tim Bowers was left paralyzed from the shoulders down and potentially in need of a ventilator for life.
According the AP report:
His family had a unique request: Could he be brought out of sedation to hear his prognosis and decide what he wanted to do?
“Doctors said yes, and Bowers chose to take no extra measures to stay alive. He died Sunday, hours after his breathing tube was removed.
“We just asked him, ‘Do you want this?’ And he shook his head emphatically no,” his sister, Jenny Shultz, said….
Of course, this should drive home the importance of treestand safety for all of us. But there’s more here. If you hunt deer from a treestand long enough, you either know someone who has fallen, or you have fallen. I have. And so has Scott.
I fell out of a climber, but didn’t hit the ground. With my feet stuck in the stirrups, I dangled upside down until my brother, who was luckily close by, helped get me back into my stand. My first thoughts were of my wife and kids, of course, and of my brothers and sisters and parents. But eventually, it did occur to me: What if I could never hunt deer again?
Let me be perfectly clear: None of us can know, or even fairly speculate, what we would do in Bowers’ unthinkable circumstances. The prospect of never hunting again likely never entered into his decision–not when prospect never again holding his wife or ever once cradling his new baby were on the table.
That said, the far-less-dire question has entered my mind: Could I live happily if I could never hunt deer again?
What do you think?