Any one of us might have been in the situation crossbow hunter Jason Koger was in. Could you also rise above?
Jason Koger was like anyone else out for a ride on an ATV. But it wasn't to be any ordinary day.
Jason rode into a downed transmission wire and woke up in a hospital three days later. The electrocution was so severe that he lost both of his hands.
For a hunter who depends on his hands for success in the sport he loves, this was an unimaginable blow. So you might think it was shooting a deer or bear that eventually gave him the confidence to deal with the obstacles he was facing.
Nope. It was holding his young children.
"I told the doctor, if I could do that, I could do anything," said Koger, who lives in Kentucky with his wife and now three children.
After that, he was ready for anything. Seems he has done just about everything since that accident in 2008.
G&F Trending Stories
He shot a turkey merely weeks after leaving the hospital. He is likely the first bilateral hand amputee to ever have taken a bear. He shot that bruin in Canada with an unmodified Barnett Ghost 385.
His courage and simple force-of-will have given him amazing opportunities.
If you haven't seen him on a hunting TV show, like "Skullbound" or "Dirt Road Outdoors," you may have caught a glimpse of him in an Apple commercial that aired during the Superbowl a few years back extolling the company's prosthetic hand technology. Yup, there's an app for that, too.
Crossbow Revolution had the opportunity to talk to Jason as he was getting ready for turkey season earlier this year.
Q: Have you always been a fan of crossbows?
A: I've always shot vertical bows. My biggest buck was 152 7/8 inches. But never crossbows. I have a friend who had an accident of his own years ago. He fell out of a tree stand and couldn't draw a bow. I happened to have a crossbow that I didn't use, and I gave it to him. When I had my own accident, he passed it back to me. But I thought, "How am I ever going to shoot this again?" I was still going through surgeries, but I wanted to continue my bowhunting passion. My friend sat in a stand with me. I steadied the crossbow with my left hand, and he put his finger on the trigger. I lined up the shot, and told him to pull the trigger. I killed a button buck. To this day, that button buck means more to me than the biggest deer I have on my wall.
Q: At what point did you decide nothing would hold you back?
A: Soon after I woke from the coma, the doctor said I'd be in the hospital two to three months. He asked if there was any goal he could help with. I knew if I could do this one thing, I could do anything. If I could hold my 21-month-old and 3-month-old girls in my arms and be a dad, I could do anything. The doctor thought I was crazy and didn't think it was a good idea. They took the feeding tubes out of me and all the wires, and I walked on my own to the waiting room. My kids came in and I could hold them and be a dad. At that point, I knew everything was going to be all right. I was home 12 days later. I learned how to drive my truck, and I went turkey hunting a few days later.
Q: It seems we all have obstacles in our lives. What advice do you give people regarding determination?
A: They say, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." Actually, He does. But He also gives His help, and then nothing is impossible. I tell people about my situation. What I did was, I stood up, went forward and never looked back. I show people that you have to never give up on your dreams.
Author's Note: Learn more about Jason at jasonkoger.com.