Mar 10, 2016

Everything Happens For A Reason 

By: Kyle Rosner

As I opened my eyes while being seemingly blinded by the truck’s dome light, I went to reach for my cell phone in my pocket and that's when I knew things weren't going to be the same... On April 1, 2012 my life changed drastically after being involved in a rollover accident in my buddy’s truck on our way home.  I mean who could've ever imagined the night ending like that? As everyone was sleeping or going to bed, the ambulance and fire truck sirens for me were growing closer.

I was rushed to the hospital in the ambulance, then had to wait for the dense fog to clear in order to airlift me to Madison hospital. After neck surgery, spinal fusions and spending 12 days in the ICU, there I was, finally able to come home. It wasn't home as I had imagined. It was almost 90 days of therapy and rehab at St. Vincent Hospital. During my time there, I worked every day to try to get back as much strength as possible. Breaking my neck in the spot that I did, I lost feeling from the chest down, leaving only movement of my arms, wrist, and neck, leaving me with virtually no grip in my hands.

After being released from the hospital, I moved into my uncle’s house which was much more handicap accessible than where I was living before. It was great being home and being able to go outside on a daily basis, but that was short-lived. After only being out of the hospital for three short weeks, I began to run a fever and returned to the emergency room with an extremely low blood pressure to find out I had a blood infection and an open sore that turned my body septic. The infection was severe enough that just your normal 10 day antibiotic wasn't going to help. The doctors ended up giving me a pick line where I was able to get long-term IV antibiotics but that wasn't all of it... They highly recommended that I go to a specialty hospital down near Milwaukee so I could get daily hyperbaric treatments to help heal the sore and to have daily check-ups of the infection. As a few months passed, I was sent back up to Green Bay for another surgery and then to a nursing home to finish the healing process. By the time all was said and done, I had spent just shy of a year in the hospital. 

We have been awaiting “the day” for far too long.  As you can imagine, after being cooped up for almost a year, I was ready to get back to the outdoors!

Growing up hunting and fishing every chance I could, the moment for me to get back to the outdoors was no longer put on hold. My friends and family went above and beyond putting together an unbelievable benefit for me to raise enough money to help purchase my ActionTrack Chair from TSS equipment.  The chair would make it easier for me to navigate anywhere outside. To some, the chair may just look like a fancy piece of hunting equipment. But to me it's not only my legs and freedom, but it also gives me a sense of independence that I would not be able to get in my regular wheelchair. I never, in a million years, would have imagined the places this chair could bring me and the amount of excitement and joy it has brought to my life.

Since my accident in 2012, until now January of 2016, I have been lucky enough to harvest eight deer, two beautiful turkeys, and quite a few ducks and geese.  It didn't take long for me to realize that, just because I have a disability, it doesn't mean that I am not able to do what I love.  I may not be able to do everything the same way as I did before, but I am finding out every day that everything I accomplish is twice as rewarding as it was the first go around! 

In a way it's been a blessing in disguise. Unlike everyone else, I get to experience all of my “firsts” again. The only thing different this time is I'm realizing a good time when I'm having it. If there is one thing you get out of this article, I hope it's this: Don't take life for granted for it can change in the blink of an eye.

What gets me through my everyday struggles is that I know how much worse it could be. I watched my younger brother Brent's life be taken from him in a matter of a few short hours (at the young age of only 17) due to an infection he could have picked up walking into the hospital that same morning. 

Some way some how, "Everything happens for a reason." And I use this quote daily. I have every reason to sit around, mope and be mad at the world, but that's not going to get me anywhere at the end of the day. Go out! Enjoy life and everything it has to offer because you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. That being said, let me take you to the last day of archery season.

Sunday, January 3, 2016 was a day I will never forget. It was a beautiful snow-covered afternoon in God’s country. Everything just seemed to be right that afternoon as my dad, Jeff Rosner, packed my TenPoint crossbow up next to me on the trailer behind the 4-wheeler to bring me out to my Barronett blind.  As we pulled up to the woods where I hunt and shut the 4-wheeler off, it was bittersweet realizing that this would be the last hunt for the year. It almost felt as if I was going to a new spot as I busted through the untraveled snowdrifts with my track chair on my way to the stand. Once in the stand, Dad helped me get my adaptive hunting device from Adaptive Outdoorsman into place to hold my bow before he zipped the door shut, peaked through the side window and gave his final, “Good luck, shoot straight, and see you at dark,” of the season. As his footsteps fade away and the silence of the woods overcomes me, I look up into the sky and thank the good Lord for blessing me to be able to enjoy his beautiful creation. 

After passing quite a few smaller bucks this year, I wasn't expecting to see much this evening. I was just happy to be out there on the last day. In the back of my mind, I could hear my buddy Shane Harvey saying, "How's that Tag sandwich going to taste Rozz." It's little things like that that keep you going throughout the season. And trust me, I heard a lot of it since he tagged out early in the season.  

As darkness grew closer, I saw a flicker to my left about 75 yards away in the tall, dead brush, but that was it. Until, almost five minutes passed…. and he turned his head.

There he was… The buck I had only had on camera a handful of times in the middle of the night. The only daylight picture being before season in full velvet near my brother Branden’s stand almost 3 miles away. I could hardly believe what I was seeing as he started walking away to my right. At this point, I was just happy I got a chance to lay my eyes on this beaut! As he disappeared behind a few trees, I thought my chance was over. But, to my surprise, he turned around and was now somewhat quartering towards me; walking to my left approximately 50 yards away.  Only to disappear again… I thought to myself, “The only thing I have on my side right now is that there is about 30 minutes of shooting light left.”  

A few minutes passed and then he reappeared to my left alongside the woods, coming straight to my food plot.  My heart-Thump, Thump, Thumped…Two steps and he stopped as he scanned the area for anything out of place.  I waited patiently for his head to get behind a big tree so I could slide my crossbow from my right shooting lane to the left lane. I made sure to not fog the scope and to be extra careful to not make a sound because he was… only 25 yards away

As I pulled the butt of the bow tight to my shoulder and placed my hand near the trigger, his head entered the shooting lane. He took another step, bringing his shoulders out from behind the tree. While taking his last two steps, my trail camera snapped his picture.  Putting my eye to the scope and softly pulled back on the trigger, I watch my red-lighted nock fly through the air and bury itself behind the front shoulder. 

He took off running straight away but quickly turned into a walk, then a stumble, to disappearing behind some trees about 80 yards away in the swamp. My once steady hands were now shaking like a leaf and what were clear eyes just moments ago, are now filled with tears of joy! 

Once I gain my composure, I called my dad. He answers with, "How big is he?" Knowing that I wasn't shooting anything small.  

I said, "I just…shot…the 12-pointer…" He couldn't believe it, but was on his way to help me track.

Within minutes, we found my trophy and drug it out to a clearing to celebrate with a big hug and lots of pictures. It was in that moment that I realized that I was truly back to the outdoors; a defining moment in my new adventure as a hunter.  I guess my grandpa Larry is right. "There’s one key word to hunting and that's patience, patience, patience!" Thank you for that grandpa! I think I not only proved you right, with this being hunt number 50 on the season, but I also helped myself and hopefully helped all of you out there reading this to realize that, "Everything does happen for a reason.”