Last April I hunted red stag in La Pampa, Argentina, and the lodge owner was impressed with my attitude and desire to hunt. He told my story to an Argentine photographer who is working on a book about red stag hunting. The photographer decided to include a photo of me in the book and asked me to write a brief text. Hereís what I came up with:
NEVER GIVE UP
by Andy Hahn
What should a hunter do when his body begins to fail him? I asked myself this question six years ago when I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrigís disease). Even as my hands, arms and legs became too weak to function, my passion for the outdoors remained strong. Through this passion I found the only answer: When a hunterís body begins to fail him, he must keep hunting.
As a young man, I often took to the woods alone. Now I hunt red stag with the help of good friends and modern technology. Instead of bemoaning my disability, I cultivate a positive attitude that helps me focus on what I can do. I canít walkóbut I have a wheelchair to help me get around; I canít handle a gunóbut my friends carry, load and aim the rifle for me; my finger canít squeeze the triggeróbut I have a switch that activates the trigger when I inhale on a tube; I canít sneak through the brush and stalk a stagóbut I have the patience to sit quietly and wait until one comes to me.
I can still get out in the field to enjoy natureís sights, smells and sounds. And when I hear a red stag roar, I feel my pulse quicken as the adrenaline surges!