“A new lease on life…”

“Is he going to be all right?”, I asked my mother over the phone, after she called and informed me that my youngest brother, Joshua, was just involved in a very serious atv accident. “I don’t know, he’s in a lot of pain”, she sobbed, “the helicopter is almost here and they are going to fly him to Columbia.”

It was Memorial Day weekend, 2009, and part of my family was in southern Missouri, riding four wheelers and enjoying the beautiful weather. I couldn’t make the trip and was at home. Out of the blue, I received a phone call from my parents saying that my 12-year old brother Josh was seriously hurt after his atv wrecked. Apparently, the atv he was riding in lost control, slid sideways, slammed into a tree, and then rolled over repeatedly. Even though he was wearing his helmet and seatbelt, he was knocked unconscious.

My other brother, Zach, was at the scene and gave him mouth-to-mouth when he noticed Josh couldn’t breathe after the impact. When Josh came to, he was in horrible pain and had a hard time breathing. Because the farm is in a remote area, and the ambulances had a hard time getting there, a helicopter had to be called. Josh was flown 40 minutes to a hospital that had a reputable pediatric intensive care. The doctors said that Josh suffered a collapsed lung, several broken ribs, and a lacerated liver. The laceration came within a fraction of an inch from severing his main artery. Had his main artery been cut, he would have died on the scene. After lots of prayers and days in the hospital, Josh was well enough to come home!

This year we took Josh down to the same farm for Missouri’s Youth Turkey Season. The night before opening day, Josh and I roosted a few gobblers and knew where to set up in the morning. Late that night, we snuck into the field and set up a ground blind and staked in the decoys, so that all we had to do in the morning was slip into the blind. Early the next morning, Josh, my brother Andrew, and myself squeezed into the blind and waited for the gobbles to pierce the air. As soon as day broke, we had birds hammering around us, and we knew it was a matter of time until one came into our setup.

Just as we had hoped, a big fat gobbler flew down, and then waltzed into our decoys where Josh fed him a load of number 6’s, channeled by the new Gobble Max choke from MAD! We had been in the blind for 30 minutes. 21 pounds, 10 ½ inch beard, 1 inch spurs!

A little side note about this hunt is that we were sitting only a couple hundred yards from where Josh was almost killed in his accident. Later that day we went back to the spot and he showed me the tree he hit. The tree was scarred badly from the impact.

We are very thankful to still have Josh with us today, and I would like to thank the Fielder family for graciously allowing us to hunt their farm!

Told by: Aaron Bennett